This is a typical checklist for any child returning to school, but parents of children with ADHD have a different kind of back-to-school checklist to prepare. It takes more than school supplies and stylish outfits to help students with ADHD be successful in school.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that affects both a child's ability to pay attention and stay focused (the attention deficit portion) and causes him or her to become restless, animated, and sometimes impulsive (the hyperactivity portion). Since children need to pay attention and focus to be successful in school, as well as behave and not cause disruptions in class for others, ADHD presents a major challenge for the children afflicted with it, along with everyone around them.
Back to School Checklist
Parents often have to prepare themselves as much as their children with ADHD when it comes time to plan for the return to school each new season. Medical researchers have discovered six key areas of developmental lapses in the ability of a child with ADHD to function normally. If parents address each of these six areas prior to their children returning to school, it is more likely they will have a successful return to school.
These are the six areas of functional problems that should be under consideration on the back to school checklist, along with suggestions for parents to address those problems:
- Flexibility. Children with ADHD struggle to be flexible, or easily change from one task to another. Parents can schedule a variety of activities into the day, perhaps even use a timer or alarm, to get their children accustomed to switching gears.
- Organization. Children with ADHD struggle with anticipating needs or problems, and therefore don't organize their time and efforts well. Parents can discuss and use charts to help children plan for upcoming daily or weekly activities, including checklists for children (such as clothing and personal items needed for a camping trip).
- Planning ahead/goal setting. Children with ADHD struggle likewise with planning ahead or setting goals. Parents can help children plan a back-to-school shopping trip by making a list of items to purchase and discuss why certain items will help meet goals (for instance, notebooks for each subject to keep things organized).
- Working memory/short-term memory. Children with ADHD struggle to receive and store information, and then retrieve it later on. Parents can play games with children that require concentration and memory recall. Breakthroughs also provides intensive memory development programs.
- Detaching emotions from reasoning. Children with ADHD struggle with remaining calm and reasonable, rather than reacting to situations. Parents can closely monitor, address, and correct negative reactions to daily activities and events.
- Preventing and controlling speech and behavior. Children with ADHD struggle to hold back their words and behavior. Parents can plan activities with other people to prepare children for behaving correctly in words and actions.
Addressing all these items on a back-to-school checklist should help prepare children for back-to-school success. Remember to use these ideas in balance with your child's ability to cope. Although we want to extend their focus and attention skills, we don't want to stress them out while we're doing it. If your child needs additional assistance, Breakthroughs in Learning can help. Contact us today to see how we can help your child be successful, at school, and at home.