ADHDCentral’s Essential Back to School Guide

Merely Me Health Guide

    It is that time again. Summer will soon come to an end and school will begin soon. For some children who go to year-round school, the school year may have already begun. For most others, the school year will begin sometime in August. As any parent with a special needs child knows, this can be an extremely anxiety-provoking time for both you and your child. You may have many questions about what to expect and how to best prepare your child for the beginning of school.

    ADHD Central is here to help with information, resources, and support to ensure that you and your child have a great school year whether your child is just beginning preschool or is entering college.

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    The following are some common questions parents have about getting their ADHD child ready for the start of school:


    What can I expect this school year? What sorts of challenges will my child with ADHD face this year?

    Every child is unique and will vary in their challenges as well as their gifts. And likewise every teacher will have a different set of expectations for his or her students. Expectations will also differ by the child’s age and grade. We have some information for you about what you can generally expect for your ADHD child based upon his or her grade level. We have the details for what to expect for children entering preschool all the way through the college years.


    • The Preschool Years: ADHD in preschool


    • First and Second Grade: ADHD in early elementary age school children 


    • Third grade until Middle School: ADHD in elementary school 


    • Middle School Years: ADHD in Middle School


    • High School: 12 Things High School Students with ADD/ADHD Want Their Teachers to Know


    • The College Years: ADHD in College



    My child seems to be afraid of school and tries to avoid going. What can I do to help?

    It is not uncommon for children with ADHD to have co-morbid conditions such as depression or anxiety related issues. For some children, school can be a very frustrating and anxious place. Extreme school anxiety may manifest as school phobia. Here are some articles which may be of help to you if your child is having such difficulties.


    • School Phobia: What do you do when your child is afraid to go to school?


    School Avoidance/School Refusal


    Managing Your Child’s Refusal to Go to School


    College students may also be reluctant to start school due to depression.


    Back to School Blues: Symptoms of Depression in College Students



    What are our options for my child’s education? Is public school our only choice?


    There are a variety of educational options for children who have special needs, including ADHD. Most other options do cost much more than the free education provided by public schools. These choices range from boarding schools to private schools to homeschooling. Here are some resources to help you make your choice.


    Homeschooling as an Options for Teaching Children with Special Needs 


    ADHD Boarding Schools


    ADHD School Directory from ADDitude magazine. This is a list of schools for children with ADHD or learning differences


    Schools, Colleges, and Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities 



    We seem to always have struggles with homework. Do you have any suggestions for making homework time easier?


    Many children with ADHD have difficulty initiating, finishing, and turning in their homework. Parents and children may come to dread homework time as it can feel like a battle. Here is some guidance and suggestions from our experts who understand firsthand how hard it can be to motivate a child to do homework. A little organization and behavior management can go a long way.

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    Ten Suggestions for Winning the Homework Wars 


    Handing in Homework Assignments


    Ten Tips for Setting up a Homework Area for Your Child 



    My child has ADHD but I am also wondering if my child also has a learning disability. How can I tell?


    Many children with ADHD will also have learning disabilities. It is important that any learning disabilities be identified early so that your child does not fall behind in school. There are a wide variety of learning disabilities ranging from problems with handwriting to difficulties with reading. You can read more about learning disabilities on Health Central’s Friends of Quinn site.  Here are some additional resources and information to guide you.


    What is a Learning Disability?


    Common Signs of Learning Disabilities


    What to do if your child has a learning disability




    Will my child need special education services? How do you qualify? What is an Individualized Education Plan?


    If you have a child with special needs you may soon learn a whole new language with acronyms such as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) or IEP (Individual Education Plan) when your child goes to school. Eileen Bailey helps us to understand your child's rights to educational services and how to navigate the system to get those services. It is good to prepare before your child goes to school to understand how the process works. Here are some articles to help you along your way.


    Requesting Special Education Services for Children with ADHD 


    How IDEA applies to children with ADHD


    How to write an IEP


    Completed Sample IEP


    Documentation and Reports to Bring to an IEP Meeting 


    We wish you the best of luck when it comes time for your child to start the new school year. It takes a little more planning when you have a child who has ADHD but the planning is well worth it. A little preparation goes a long way.


    Here are some additional resources to begin planning for the first day of school.


    Managing ADHD at school


    Take our quiz: Managing School and ADHD


    Making the Most of the School Year


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    Do you have any back to school tips to share with us? We would love to hear them! Remember that you are the true experts here and we want to hear from you.

Published On: July 19, 2010