Parenting is simultaneously the hardest and most rewarding job a person can have. There are extra challenges when you have a child with ADHD, especially if your child is struggling in school, the main job of childhood. It's heartbreaking to watch your child have difficulty with learning and homework, and particularly frustrating when you don't know where to turn for help.
In order to set your children up for success, you need to match the assistance you seek with the specific difficulties your child is having. As there is a lot of help out there, parents need to know where to look and what to ask for.
Is your child doing poorly on tests? Are there gaps in his/her knowledge or skills, making school more difficult than it should be? Is s/he taking way too long to complete homework assignments – or not turning them in at all?
Trust yourself and your perception of what is getting in the way. You know your child best and have seen what has occurred over the years with different programs and teachers.
If your child is having general learning or behavioral difficulty in school, you might work with school personnel to make sure that your child's program and services are meeting his/her unique needs. This may entail such things as:
- meeting with the teacher to discuss your concerns,
- requesting a meeting with the school team to discuss interventions that have been tried and/or those that might be put into place,
- pursuing testing to see if your child qualifies for specific programs, accommodations, modifications or services, or
- requesting a review meeting with the IEP or Section 504 team as soon as problems are noted rather than waiting until the annual meeting.
It's vitally important that the six hours or so that your child is in school are adequately addressing your child's learning needs so that s/he can succeed.
Sometimes a child knows the material, but can't sit down to complete the work without close supervision. If homework time is an undue struggle, perhaps a high school/college student looking for extra income might be all that is required for your child to begin – and finish! – required homework.
After a gruelling day at school, it's not uncommon for children to have difficulty working with their parents on homework or studying. If your child needs help with a particular academic area, a tutor can preview the material or re-teach what wasn't understood so that your child can better understand the subject matter and improve grades.
Sometimes a tutor just isn't enough, especially when there are learning difficulties due to ADHD and/or learning disabilities. An educational therapist can provide individualized instruction in keeping with your child's unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Educational therapists work on specific academic subjects while addressing underlying weaknesses in areas such as visual or auditory processing, memory, and study or test taking skills. They help students develop appropriate learning strategies and gain more confidence in their abilities.
As students with ADHD get older, it's often difficult for them to deal with increasing life demands and higher expectations for independence. A coach specifically trained in ADHD can help your child manage his/her life and responsibilities in and out of school.
Coaches provide support, structure and accountability as students work to develop skills and strategies to plan, organize, manage time, begin tasks, sustain focus, and work toward completion. They help students get and stay on track by developing goals, designing actions and monitoring progress to support desired growth.