Team Up With Your Child's Teacher continued...
Volunteer. "Help out in the classroom or donate supplies," says Jennifer Helm, a mother of two kids with ADHD in La Verne, CA. Become known as someone who's helpful; an all-around asset to the school. The teacher will appreciate it.
If you and your child's teacher butt heads, you may want to give up and talk to the principal. But don't go down that road unless you've tried everything else, Helm says. A feud with the teacher can backfire -- and your child could pay the price. Focus on working with the teacher, not around her.
How Schools Can Help
Once you've built a partnership with the teacher, and maybe the school psychologist or a counselor, work together to come up with a plan to help manage your child's behavior. Some parents keep these agreements loose. But more formal arrangements can be a good idea.
A 504 plan gives kids with certain disabilities "special accommodations" in the classroom to help them learn. What those are depend on the child. Even small changes can help a lot, Lougy says. A 504 plan might allow a fidgety kid to stand instead of sit at his desk or give him extra time for schoolwork.
Some kids with ADHD get help from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This federal law gives your child access to special education and an IEP, or individual education plan. An IEP covers more than a 504 plan, but it's also more complex. It might also mean your child won't be in a regular classroom. Your pediatrician can help you decide what to ask for.
"I generally try to get a kid with ADHD onto a 504 plan first to see how that goes," Brock says. "If it doesn't work, then we consider an IEP."
A new school should be a last resort. It could make things worse. "Kids don't like to change schools," Lougy says. "It's hard on them emotionally and often academically."