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ADHD in Children Health Center

Back to School With ADHD

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Talk to the Teacher

Write a letter or set up a meeting with your child's new teacher(s) to talk about what classroom changes helped your child learn in the past. For example, it can be easier for kids with ADHD to concentrate in the front of the class, away from distractions such as friends and the windows. If you already have a 504 Plan or an individualized education program (IEP) set up, go over it with the new teacher.

(A 504 plan guarantees that kids with certain disabilities get "special accommodations" in the classroom to help them learn. The accommodations depend on the child. An IEP covers more than a 504 plan, but it's also more complicated. It might also mean your child won't be in the regular classroom.)

Get a feel for how much homework the teacher will assign each night. You may want to ask for extra help to make sure your child can finish all of their assignments, or for extra time on tests.

Most importantly, figure out how you and the teacher will stay in touch during the school year.

Getting Started at a New School

Is your child starting middle or high school? Did you move over the summer? A big change like that can be hard for a child or teen with ADHD.

Make it easier by reaching out to the school before classes start. Help the new school match your child with the classes and teachers that fit his or her abilities and learning style.

Call the school and arrange to share report cards, test scores, and notes from last year. Set up a meeting with the guidance counselor and your child's teachers. You may need to update your child's 504 Plan or IEP, or develop a new one.

Ask the guidance counselor to take you and your child on a tour of the new school. Meet with teachers, the principal, the nurse, and anyone else your child will see daily. Walk through the whole school day with your child so they know where they need to go and when.

Advance planning and practice, along with familiar routines at home, will help you both get used to this change.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Patricia Quinn, MD on July 25, 2013
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