Helping Kids with ADHD Succeed in School

School can be hard for any child, but for kids with ADHD, characterized by inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, they tend to have a harder time because of the disorder. “Research suggests that children with ADHD exhibit deficits in cognitive and achievement testing, lower grades, and an increased use of special education services in comparison with the general population,” said Jacqueline Iseman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist. They are also more likely to need tutoring, repeat a grade or have learning difficulties, she added. This doesn’t mean that children with ADHD are doomed to have bad grades or poor school performance. As a parent you can do a lot to help your child manage their symptoms and do well in school. Here are some strategies to help:
• Be Compassionate, Not Critical: Remember that your child is not intentionally trying to forget their homework or fail a test. Their ADHD does make it harder for them to concentrate, pay attention, and accomplish assignments and stay engaged in activities that don’t interest them. Avoid using negative consequences to force your child to study or focus, use positive reinforcement instead.
• Follow Up with School Staff: “Parents should be in close contact with the teachers to make sure communication is open and that issues are addressed immediately,” said Terry Matlen, a psychotherapist and coach who specializes in ADHD. For example, when your child is first diagnosed, share that information with school staff. Talk with your child’s guidance counselor about how to best support your child. This might include tutoring, counseling or a mentor.
• Create Structure: Kids with ADHD tend to do best when they have a schedule set for them from morning to night. Create a schedule for them that includes school, homework, playtime, chores, after-school activities and family meals. Make sure to place the schedule in a visible spot so your child can always see it.
• Set Rules: It is important for any child to have clear rules, expectations and consequences, especially those who have ADHD. Set these rules for your child and when they follow one, be sure to award them.
• Offer Praise: “Children with ADHD frequently receive criticism from others. Therefore, they are accustomed to and will expect negative feedback,” Iseman said. She stressed the importance of looking for good behavior and praising your child. “Praise that is specific and immediate will go a long way toward increasing the frequency of the desired behaviors.”



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