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School can be a real challenge for children with ADHD. Children with ADHD may find it hard to sit in class, follow directions, or complete tasks and school work. They may have anxiety over not fitting in, and may often get in trouble for disruptive behaviors such as moving around at inappropriate times or calling out when it is not their turn. There are options if your child is not coping well in their mainstream school.
The right fit is important for ADHD pupils
It really saddens me that children with ADHD are not coping in mainstream schools. As a teacher, I have worked with loads of ADHD kids and their families and while it is challenging, there is always a way through. Make sure the school is the right fit, the teacher is the right fit, and there is individual education to support your child in adapting to their school.
Link the school for children with ADHD with your therapist and ensure they understand the medication your child is taking. Demand they use a positive model. Your little person is not naughty; they have a learning difficulty that is very challenging within the classroom and they are entitled to support and more importantly, a good education.
Communicate with the school and be involved
For toddlers attending a mainstream nursery school or playgroup, ADHD may make conforming to the daily routine a struggle. You should regularly communicate with the caregivers and teachers and make sure that they are informed about how behavioral management strategies can assist them in managing the behavior of your child.
If your child is difficult to control and exhibits poor impulse control, you can consider giving your child social interaction opportunities in an environment with fewer children and for shorter periods. Finding a school for ADHD where the teachers have experience with children with ADHD can also ensure an understanding and supportive environment.
Many school-age children with ADHD also struggle to cope in the mainstream school environment. Therefore a teacher should know how to help a child with ADHD in school. Some schools address this by offering special needs classes within the school. It is important to communicate about your child’s needs and their progress on a regular basis. Your child’s teacher should also have a clear understanding of your child’s difficulties as an ADHD student.
Teaching strategies to assist a child in the classroom should involve how to help a child with ADHD focus in school. These include having clear classroom rules, providing appropriate supervision, offering accommodations or concessions such as extra time to struggling students, reducing classroom distractions, and allowing time for movement. As a parent, you can support your child and their teacher by being involved in ensuring that homework and tasks are completed. In cases of severe difficulty, you may want to consider options such as homeschooling.
Be sure your ADHD child is in the right school
Public schools in the United States are required to provide appropriate school accommodations for ADHD and other special needs. If your child cannot cope with a mainstream classroom, you may need to initiate the process to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) put in place. This can provide accommodations such as special seating, extra time for tests, an aide, or other assistance needed to help your child function in his or her school environment.
If a school district is unable or unwilling to provide what your child needs, they may be able to provide tuition for a specialized school. Some parents opt to pay for their child to attend a school whose mission is to make learning more accessible to children with special needs such as ADHD and autism. Other families will move into a school district known for its efforts to help children with special needs to thrive in the school setting.
In my experience, the local public school system has been helpful, accommodating, and caring for the children in the community with special needs such as ADHD and autism. Open communication between parents, teachers, and special education staff is imperative to creating a good learning environment for your child. Be sure to sign the appropriate releases so that the school district can communicate with doctors and therapists to provide the best education possible.
In the US, your ADHD child has legal rights to a good education
In the United States, 3 major pieces of legislation have been passed to ensure that children with special needs such as children with ADHD can access services to help them succeed at school.
The first piece of legislation is known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. This law mandates that the public education system provide appropriate services to students whose disability limits their ability to function in an educational setting.
The second piece of legislation is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under Section 504, the definition of disability can be a lot broader than that under IDEA. This means that if a student does not qualify for services under IDEA, they may still qualify under Section 504, which mandates that all students with disabilities be given the same access to educational resources as students without disabilities.
The last piece of legislation is the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, signed into law in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush. ADA builds on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to include equal access to web content as well.
The important thing is to know your rights as parents and the rights of your student under each of these landmark pieces of legislation; do not be afraid to exercise your rights. For children with ADHD and their families residing outside of the United States, I recommend contacting your local school officials to see how to go about getting your child services in your local schools.