Everyone knows that children have a lot of energy; they squirm, run from place to place, and are easily distracted. This is normal conduct for a child and it is nothing to worry about, even though it may interfere with the child’s schoolwork from time to time. For ADHD students, however, symptoms of distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention are abnormally high and will significantly get in the way of the student’s ability to learn in the traditional classroom setting.
ADHD students exhibit several typical behaviors at school which inhibit their performance. Studies have found that ADHD students are at greater risk for lower than average grades, failed grades, suspensions, expulsions, school dropout, and lower rate of college completion. Some areas in which ADHD students may experience difficulties include:
- Understanding and following rules
- Making careless errors and missing important details in assignments
- Completing tasks
- Daydreaming during lectures and classroom activities
- Organizing assignments
- Causing verbal or physical disruptions in class
- Answering questions with poorly formulated answers
- Only paying attention to material that is entertaining or novel
Numerous studies have also shown that, when those involved in the life ADHD students join forces, there have been positive results across the board. Mainly, collaboration and communication between the parents and school of ADHD students are the keys to providing structure and consistency in the two main areas of the student’s life.
Collaboration between the school and parents of ADHD students begins with parents sharing information with teachers, and vice versa, so that they can plan strategies. Parents can share information about ADHD students as it relates to medical history, hobbies, and effective reinforcement of behaviors. Teachers can share information about ADHD students as it relates to behavior in school, progress on assignments, and schoolwork performance.
Most importantly, parents of ADHD students should be aware of federal laws protecting students who are trying to cope with their attention difficulties in school. Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools must provide ADHD students with an appropriate education, and schools must also develop positive ways to address each ADHD student’s behavior. Another law parents of ADHD students should investigate is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits schools from discriminating against ADHD students and requires schools to make certain modifications to help ADHD students succeed in school.