Here’s some advice you may find helpful from educators who work with children with ADHD every day.
1. View ADHD as a Superpower. “Traits that typically accompany ADHD, such as impulsivity, laser vision with things they’re passionate about, and thinking outside the box, can be quite beneficial in the real world,” says Lisa Kruse, MEd, an educational consultant in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
2. Work Out a Plan. “Parents and teachers who are proactive, develop daily routines, and use organizational support are able to see a payoff,” says Kruse. “Simple checklists for home and school routines, assignment notebooks, and color-coded folders for subject areas will set up a child for success.”
3. Take Advantage of Services. “Support may be available if your child’s academic work is adversely affected by ADHD,” Kruse says. “For example, if you have a gifted student whose grades are average, but who could be doing above-average work, he may qualify for support because there’s a discrepancy between his ability and achievement.” She suggests checking wrightslaw.com for accurate, reliable info on special education law and support services.
4. Amp Up Your Child’s App Skills. “Middle school is the ideal time for students with ADHD to develop healthy habits and become proficient with one or two apps that can mitigate their challenges,” says Thomas Webb, MA, director of disability services at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He suggests text-to-speech apps, such as Read&Write or Snap&Read, and simple calendar and to-do list managers. App proficiency can even help later in college, Webb says, when the need to stay organized and retain information is even greater.
5. Allow Your Child to Try New Things. So says high school special ed teacher Bryan Darling, who works with ADHD teens at Queen Anne’s County High School in Centreville, Maryland: “Many kids with ADHD have varied interests. Letting your child dip their toe into many activities to see what fits is a great strategy.”
6. Buy Some Magazines. “The energy and patience of a child with ADHD can be a much better match for magazines than chapter books,” says Darling, adding that kids can use reading and critical thinking skills they learn from magazines for school reading assignments.
7. Get ’Em Moving. “Exercise, or at least stretching, before school can ease the morning transition from bed to school,” Darling notes.