How to Prepare for the RETURN TO ACADEMICS!
By Judy A. MacNamee; ADHD Coach
With the 4th of July behind us, thoughts turn to what’s ahead for the school year. If your ADHD learner has struggled in the past, what can you AND your child do differently to begin the academic year successfully? Here are six tips for both parents and your children.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #1- WHAT IS ON THAT IEP OR 504?
Many parents believe that you must wait for that magical expiration date or the beginning of each school year to make changes on the support documents. In fact, you may make changes whenever you feel it is necessary. There should be consistency and not changed if you feel it is accurate and effective, but if you feel strongly that the goals, objectives, accommodations, or placement need a stronger look, make an appointment late in the summer or early in the year to discuss.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #2- INCLUDE YOUR CHILD ON DEVELOPING THOSE ACCOMMODATIONS
Accommodations for any age child often include the combined brain cells of parents and the Special Needs teachers along with other specialized educators. A very important piece in these meetings is often missing: THE CHILD! Oh, I know, as they get older children don’t want to spend time in that boring meeting, when in fact, it is necessary to get their feedback. Accommodations should be built with the input of the child. What works for them? How do they learn best? What kinds of tools are helpful and work with their brain? Sometimes, just a few questions and our listening ear will reveal accommodations that make sense to your child.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #3- PARTNER WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHERS!
Did I say partner? Yes, become a valued and effective partner. Don’t go in with a set of things you WANT from each teacher or with all barrels blasting. Create that relationship that is helpful, understanding and a wonderful resource FOR you and the teacher. Start early and build on it all year long! Make it a professional relationship to achieve the goal of success for your child.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #4- Are YOU feeling the Guilt?
Sometimes parents truly struggle with the challenges of raising an exceptional child. It IS difficult to accept and you may need support in doing just that. Showing your child and teacher the wonderful characteristics your child possess and his/her uniquely wired brain, can be heartwarming to your child, as well. If your child’s schedule needs to be altered with more engaging teachers or breaks in the day, do it early. Summer time is best but approaching and making the changes as early as possible in the school year will help. Your child mimics being left handed in our “right-handed” world but can and WILL be successful with different roads and strategies put in place.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #5- MEDICATION
If your child is taking medications, get forms, process and routine set up with the school nurse, and your child. Children all the way through to teen years are often embarrassed about taking their meds. Talk to your child about the importance of the positives and continuing to praise those fabulous characteristics.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #6- HOMEWORK SUPPORT AT SCHOOL AND AT HOME
Your child’s brain is running 24-7 and often he or she holds it together all day long, so how difficult is it to go through this day after day and then have to come home and struggle with you over homework? Discuss with your child the need for the homework and formulate a plan on how BOTH of you will work towards achieving that goal. Make it fun and rewarding! Have a specific place set up for the work, complete with supplies of pens, paper, etc. so your child does not have to dig through the “backpack of no return!” Set up a system with the teacher early on in regards to homework and a process for assigning it and getting it turned in.