10 Ways to Use Technology to Help Your Child with ADHD Succeed in School
Many accommodations for children with ADHD don’t require any special equipment, such as sitting in the front of the classroom and having extra time to take tests. That doesn’t mean that assistive technology isn’t helpful. There are many ways you can use today’s technology to help your child succeed in school.
The following are 10 ideas, both low-tech and high-tech, that can help your child stay organized and increase productivity.** 1. Use an app for creating and monitoring daily goals**
Help your child set goals on a daily basis. He can include things like completing homework, getting up on time, remembering medication or any other habit he wants to reinforce. There are a number of different apps to help. For Apple products and the web, Strides allows you to create 10 goals at a time for free (there is a cost for adding more than 10 goals). This app also lets you share your results so each time your child reaches a goal, he can share it with you so you can monitor his progress. This app isn’t available for Android, but there are some similar ones for that platform, such as Streaks.
2. Keep track of class schedules, tests, assignments, and due dates
The app myHomework allows you to get rid of a paper planner and have all your information in your phone or on your computer. The best part of this app is that if your child’s teacher uses Teachers.io, which is a free app, it will sync with your child’s app and update with due dates and notices from the teacher.
3. See exactly how much time is left in a task
Children with ADHD tend to lose track of time. Whether you want to set a limit on screentime or count down to the next task, timers with a visual of how much time is left can help. Time Timer has a visual red disk that shrinks as time passes; when the red disk is gone, the time is up. It is available as a stand alone timer, a watch, as a wall clock, and as an app.
4. Receive immediate feedback while learning
Computer learning programs provide immediate feedback, allowing your child to see errors and correct them right away. They make learning more multisensory, incorporating sound, visual, and interactive participation. There are computer programs for reading and math. Talk to your child’s school about computer programs that you can use at home on a PC or tablet to help reinforce skills learned in class.
5. Use audio books to increase reading skills
Many people think that using audio books can cause more harm than good when learning to read; However, there are many benefits to using audio books, including developing listening skills, increasing attention and, learning about complex language. For children with ADHD who also have learning disabilities, audio books help them stay on track in reading. Following along with the text can increase reading skills, improving reading retention and comprehension.
6. Use a portable word processor for taking notes and writing
Dysgraphia, or written expression disorder, affects more than one-half of children with ADHD, according to a 2011 study. Portable word processors can be used in the classroom for taking notes or at home for written assignments. Portable word processors are made to be used as a stand-alone product, but some also allow you to transfer the information to a computer. You can also use a tablet computer; however, the benefit of a portable word processor is that you don’t have the distraction of having games and other apps readily available on the device.
7. Send assignments electronically
Children with ADHD are notorious for losing assignments somewhere between home and school, causing grades to plummet. Use a scanner to scan in homework and email it to the teacher as soon as it is completed to make sure your child receives credit.
8. Reduce distractions with noise cancelling headphones or earplugs
If your child is easily distracted by noise, consider using noise cancelling equipment to reduce the number of distractions. When sending these to school, make sure to talk with the teacher first.
9. Help your child keep track of their belongings
Keys, wallets, tablets, phones, backpack... there are so many things for your child to keep track of each day. Electronic finders work to help you locate misplaced items. You attach a receiver to any item you want to track and then the handheld device can lead you right to it. Amazon has one that will track up to 25 items.
10. Program a watch for better time management
Watchminder allows you to set 30 different reminders each day. The watch is preprogrammed with 60 messages, and you can create 10 additional personalized messages. The watch can help your child manage time, remind him to take medication, limit screen time, and transition to a new activity or task.
Keep in mind that use of technology can be associated with insomnia. If your child is using technology that has a blue screen, make sure to have it turned off at least one hour before bedtime. Television is usually acceptable as long as your child isn’t sitting too close to the screen. For other blue light device use close to bedtime, such as listening to music from a phone, have your child turn it face down so the blue screen isn’t visible.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of Idiot's Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot's Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love and Essential Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.