Getting ADHD Kids Back to School
Expert strategies for preparing ADHD kids for a new school year.
Teachers and ADHD Kids continued...
"Constant contact with your child's teacher is critical," says
Rafael Klorman, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester
in New York who focuses on ADHD. "While once a day might seem like a lot,
it's right on target." Talk with your child's teacher about how often
check-ins make sense for your family. The point is to maintain regular contact
with your child's teacher.
White has had ups and downs with her attempts to build alliances with her
kids' teachers. But she keeps trying, and next year will use technology to her
advantage: She's asked her son's teacher to give her a daily email report, and
the teacher has agreed.
Technology aside, White tries to keep it simple: She asks that her kids sit
in the front of the class, where proximity to the teacher helps them focus and
Routines and ADHD
She also uses baby steps as part of their daily routine. For instance,
rather than emphasizing the bigger picture each morning -- getting out the door
to school on time -- she breaks the tasks down into manageable chunks. She
gives them three minutes to brush their teeth. When that mission is
accomplished, it's on to a 10-minute breakfast, then five minutes to
get dressed, and so on. Chopping the routine into smaller portions helps the
kids set easier goals and then feel good when they reach them.
"With ADHD, especially in school, kids often feel like they aren't
performing -- they literally can't make the grade, and parents and teachers
focus on the negative," says Klorman. "So it's important, whether at
home or at school, that when a child with ADHD is successful, the success is
met with reward -- even if it's something small."
Joshua and Elissa both use medication to manage their
ADHD, and therapy is an important option the Whites continue to explore. White
explains she hasn't found the magic bullet to make everything work perfectly
all the time, but she feels her family is going in the right direction.
"We want to teach our kids to be responsible and accountable," says
White. "We know that all children can have a tough time in school, even
more so with ADHD. All we can do is focus on what's in front of us and help
them take little steps at a time."