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ADHD Quiz: How Can You Help Your Child in School?

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ADHD is a learning disability.

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ADHD is a learning disability.

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ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common developmental disorder, not a learning disability. If your child has ADHD, he can be impulsive or easily distracted and have trouble finishing tasks. Yet, many kids with ADHD have average intelligence. And some may have high IQs. Some kids with ADHD may have learning disabilities; about half do. If you are concerned, have your child checked for this.

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You can make getting ready for school in the morning easier by:

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You can make getting ready for school in the morning easier by:

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Mornings can be hectic, especially if you are rushing off to work. You can ease the stress on your child by establishing a morning routine and posting reminders about what to do using pictures or short notes. Make sure the reminders are simple and clear: 1) alarm rings 2) wash face 3) get dressed. Also try keeping a list of things to take to school by the door or in your child’s backpack.

Holding a child back in school has been proved to help kids with ADHD.

Holding a child back in school has been proved to help kids with ADHD.

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Parents of young children with ADHD, particularly kindergartners and first-graders, are often told to keep their child back a year to catch up on social skills or “grow out” of certain behaviors. But research doesn’t support that idea; repeating a grade can affect self-esteem, and boredom can make behavior worse. Most experts suggest moving the child to the next grade and providing access to services.

How can you help your child’s teacher?

How can you help your child’s teacher?

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You are your child’s biggest advocate, and it’s important to work with everyone involved in your child’s treatment, including teachers, doctors, therapists, even other family members. Talk to your child’s teacher early in the year, and use a homework folder to communicate. Ask the teacher to include assignments and progress notes, and you can check to make sure all the work is turned in on time.

Joining an extracurricular club or team can help your child’s:

Joining an extracurricular club or team can help your child’s:

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It’s important for all kids to feel good about themselves, but a healthy sense of confidence and self-esteem can be particularly vital for children with ADHD, some of whom struggle in school. Help your child find an activity that he or she does well in and encourage participation in it. Sports or art or music classes or activities all can help boost self-esteem and social skills.

Where should your child do homework?

Where should your child do homework?

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Children with ADHD tend to need more structure and respond well to schedules. Pick a regular time and place for homework, away from other people and distractions such as television and video games. Have your child do homework in short time segments, and give him or her plenty of breaks.

What’s the best way for your child or teen to study for a big test?

What’s the best way for your child or teen to study for a big test?

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Breaking up a large task into a series of small steps can make it more manageable. That means planning ahead and studying for a big test in short spurts over several days or weeks instead of cramming the night before. Creating questions and then rereading the material to answer the questions is an effective way to remember it. A tutor or study buddy also can help.

Your child should have diet restrictions at school.

Your child should have diet restrictions at school.

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This is one area where your child doesn’t have to feel different. Although a balanced diet is important for overall health, children with ADHD do not need to follow a restricted diet; research has yet to find that following a specific diet helps or cures ADHD. Although diets advocating cutting out sugar, food additives, and yeast gained some attention, none has been proved to help children with ADHD.

Under an individualized education program, or IEP, your child might:

Under an individualized education program, or IEP, your child might:

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By law, public schools must provide children with ADHD “free, appropriate public education.” Some children with ADHD are eligible for an individualized education program (IEP) that sets goals and provides support needed to achieve them. An IEP could include modified testing and homework deadlines, provide a note-taking partner, and allow the student to run errands for the teacher to burn energy.

I’m worried my child may be having side effects from meds. I should:

I’m worried my child may be having side effects from meds. I should:

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If you feel that your child’s ADHD meds are causing side effects -- which can include decreased appetite, upset stomach, mood changes, and disrupted sleep -- talk to your doctor. He may change the dosage, recommend a different drug, or suggest taking a break from medication.   

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