For the ADD/ADHD child, school can be the most difficult place to succeed in the world. Having ADHD in school means you can’t sit still or pay attention—yet those are the top two requirements of any classroom. It’s no wonder a child with ADD/ADHD feels frustrated and discouraged at school.
Every week, the child with ADD/ADHD in school slips farther behind, often to the point where it’s impossible to catch up. In the course of losing homework and doing poorly on tests, the ADHD child who barely kept up in elementary school might be totally lost in high school.
For those with ADHD in school, there are also social problems. ADD/ADHD children are impulsive and often don’t realize the things they say might upset fellow students. Behaviors like acting without thinking, interrupting others, and being impatient can be off-putting to the peers of an ADD/ADHD child in school. With academic troubles mounting alongside peer troubles, the student with ADHD has a lot of challenges to overcome. All of these troubles can lead to low self esteem, reckless driving, substance abuse, and the other destructive coping mechanisms of adolescence.
By getting involved and staying in touch with teachers, parents of children with ADHD in school can help their kids through the bumpy roads of education:
- Talk openly with teachers about the child’s condition. Parents, teachers, and the child should form a team, working together to achieve the best educational experience possible.
- Find out all you can about your child’s educational rights in your school district.
- Ensure that your child is benefiting from everything the school offers to help ADD/ADHD students like tutoring, smaller class sizes, and extra time to take tests.
- Encourage your child to be more open about his or her condition. Tell your child it’s okay to let friends know that ADD and ADHD might cause thoughtless behavior and hurt feelings.
- Remind your child to take pride in the things he or she does well. ADHD does not affect intelligence. Children with ADHD in school have their own abilities and talents, just like anyone else.
- Join an ADHD support group with your child.
- See if your child can sit in front of the class to limit distractions.
- Give your child tools to stay organized such as notepads, agenda planners, and designated homework times.
- Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to exercise.
- Visit the classroom and volunteer for activities. Show the school you are interested in your child’s education and you’re willing to help.