What Parents of a Child With ADHD Should Find in a School

Parents of a child dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have to face many challenges; one in particular is choosing the right school that is compatible with their child’s learning style.

Selecting the right school can set up a child for success. Here are a few tips every parent should consider when locating the right learning environment for a child with ADHD.

Identify Your Child’s Needs

Understanding the characteristics of your child’s behavior will assist you in selecting the best school for him.

As Helpguide.org states, children with ADHD may display the following traits:

  • Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive.
  • Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention.
  • Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive.

Parents need to consider how their child learns. According to Additudemag.com, parents are encouraged to list the methods in which their child learns the best.

  • Is he a listener or does he learn better through touch?
  • Does he volunteer or does he need to be drawn out?
  • Does he work well independently or would he do better in a group? Parents should to be aware of their child’s strengths and weaknesses as it relates to their child’s learning style and social skills.

Evaluate the School

Lora Smith has worked in special education as an instructional assistant for 15 years and also has a child with ADHD. She explains,

“There are no schools that purposely deal with ADHD. [Parents] need to visit the school and talk with administration about their child's needs and see what resources that they have to help their child be successful.”

Plan to meet the school’s principal, the main teachers and their assistants, speech therapists, and special-need’s instructors. Start by discussing the following:

  • Create goals that are realistic with your child’s teachers and develop a plan on how to reach them.

  • Familiarize your child’s learning and behavioral history with their teachers. Parents and teachers should work together to address the difficulties their child encounters in a learning environment.

  • Determine if the school is willing to be flexible to your child’s method of learning. Will the school permit for your child to use a recording device while in class if taking notes presents itself to be a challenge? Will he be allowed extra time to complete tests and in class assignments?

“As a teacher, you need to be on a team that is willing to help out and share time with the student,” Smith recommends. “Having team members that are willing to have a student in their classroom for short periods will help the pupil to be less frustrated and may help him/her to concentrate more. Shorter assignments and frequent breaks will help the students with ADHD, who experience limited attention span to be more successful.”

Develop and Implement A Behavior Plan

Parents and teachers will find it extremely beneficial to create and use a behavioral plan when dealing with a child with ADHD.

A few tips that are highlighted by HelpGuide.org are:

  • A child with ADHD should be seated away from doors and windows.

  • For seated activities in a classroom, allow the student to move around the room. Parents and teachers need to agree on including physical movement into the daily lessons.

  • Share with the child the behavioral plan. Keep the plan on the wall near the child’s desk.

Sources:

Sprinkle, N. (2014, April 15). ADHD in School: Finding the Right Learning Environment for Your Child. ADDitude Magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from Additude Mag

ADD / ADHD and School. (2014, June 24). Helping Children with ADHD Succeed at School. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from HelpGuide.org