ADHD Kids: Back to School Tips

ADHD Kids: Back to School Tips

By Attention Deficit Connect StaffA March 1, 2013 3,035 2

It’s that time of year again: Summer’s almost gone, and close on its heels comes the first day of school.

For families with ADHD children, though, the end of summer means more than just buying new school supplies. It means getting reacquainted with the structure and routine of an eight-hour school day, adjusting to the demands of homework and navigating social pressures.

It may help your family to know you’re not alone in this end-of-summer dilemma:  About 2 million children in the U.S. have ADHD. That means that for the average classroom of 25 or 30 students, at least one is likely to have ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

What's the best way for parents and ADHD children to get ready? Here are some suggestions to help smooth the transition into a new school year.

Write an IEP – or review an existing one.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) clearly establish the classroom accommodations and interventions ADHD students should receive to help them succeed in school. Schedule a team meeting – this often includes teachers, the principal and the special-education staff –  before the start of the school year to write an IEP or review an existing one. Consider the year’s academic goals and your child’s particular trouble spots.

Review medication.

Was your child off medication during the summer? If so, you may want to restart it a week or two before school begins. Ask your doctor.

Set goals together.

Sit down with your child and brainstorm what he might achieve in the school year. Focus on strengths, as well as on areas that need improvement. Be sure to make the goals attainable. Meeting goals empowers a child to meet tougher challenges later in the year. 

Get organized.

Plan organizational systems for home and school together with your child. Look for items that will be easy enough for your child to use and, ideally, that they will enjoy using. A calendar can be especially helpful: It can give a student a sense of control over their lives and help them maintain goals and attention.

Talk to the teacher.

Work to build rapport with your child’s teacher. A strong bridge between home and school is often the key to a student’s success. Set up a plan for frequent contact that works for both parties and will keep you in touch with what’s happening.

Look for ways to adjust environment.

The possibilities here are endless. Work with your child’s teacher and your child to identify barriers to attention and brainstorm solutions. You might create a dedicated workspace in the house for homework. Ask for a seat in the front of the classroom for your child. Written assignment instructions or directions in small, manageable amounts can be helpful.  Don’t be afraid to try new ideas.

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