Survey Finds Switching Schools to Be Best Non-Prescription Option

Community Member

Just in time for back to school, we have the results from a Consumer Reports Health survey which concludes that parents feel that a switch in schools is an effective treatment for their child's ADHD, second only to ADHD medications. The survey looked at the responses of parents of 900 children or teens under the age of 18 who had been diagnosed with ADHD. Here are some of the highlights of this report:

  • 67% of parents rated drug therapy as the most effective treatment for their child with ADHD.

  • 45% of parents surveyed reported that there was great benefit to switching their child's school to one which was better able to handle their child's challenges related to ADHD.

  • 39% of parents felt that giving one instruction at a time was helpful.

  • 37% responded that a private tutor or learning specialist was beneficial for their child.

  • 35% of the parents reported that a structured schedule of activities was an effective strategy for their child.

In addition it was also found that 58% of the children had seen two or more treatment providers in the last 12 months, showing that children with ADHD may need a team approach, utilizing more than one professional's expertise or methodology.

This report, especially the part about education, is very interesting to me as a parent, as it validates what I have heard many other parents say on forums and support sites such as ADHD Central. There are many parents who question the effectiveness of their child's current educational placement and wonder what other options exist for their child. We are here to help give you information and resources so that you can choose the best school option to meet your child's needs.

If you are thinking about switching schools for your child, here are some of the available choices:

  • Homeschooling: In all 50 states it is legal to homeschool your child, though each state has different requirements. The Home School Legal Defense Association's web site has a list of legal requirements for homeschoolers in each state.   The pros of homeschooling include flexibility to individualize your child's education, the ability to structure your child's learning environment and schedule, one on one instruction, more opportunities for teaching life skills, and great support from other homeschooling parents. The cons are that it requires a tremendous commitment of time and energy, burn-out is possible, you must be prepared to teach a wide variety of subjects, and you must give thought to socialization.
For more information about homeschooling please read my article based upon my personal experience as a homeschooling parent, [Homeschooling as an Option for Teaching Children with Special Needs](
  • Boarding Schools:   Boarding schools offer not only an education but a place of residence for your child or teen. There are many different types of boarding schools including same sex, religious, military, and boarding schools tailored for students with special needs including ADHD, learning disabilities, or behavioral problems. The pros are that some boarding schools have smaller classrooms so that the child can receive more individualized attention; boarding schools could offer a lot of college preparation; some offer therapeutic services in addition to academic learning; and there may be more structure and less distractions in such a setting. The cons are that such schools can be very expensive, they may be isolated, and the separation from your child may be emotionally difficult.
Make sure to fully research any school you send your child to and get to know the people who will be working with your child. This is especially important if you send your child to a school where he or she will be living away from home for extended periods of time.  

Here are a couple of resources for finding an ADHD Boarding school. I cannot vouch for any school listed. You will have to conduct your own personal research as to the quality of any school. [Boarding School Review of ADHD Boarding Schools]( [4ADHD List of ADHD Boarding Schools](

Private Schools, Colleges, and Everything in Between: If your child has ADHD, an autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities or any combination of these disorders, there are private schools which specialize in educating your child. These lists also include colleges which offer services for students having ADHD or other disorders. The pros of a private educational institution are that they typically have a smaller classroom size and specialized schools may offer treatment and services tailored for your child's needs. The cons include the cost of tuition and the fact that private schools are not required to provide special education services to children with disabilities.

Here are some links to lists of private schools and colleges for students having ADHD:  

[Schools, Colleges, and Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities](  

[ADHD School Directory from ADDitude magazine](  

There are other schooling options including switching public schools by moving to a different school district. If you feel that your child's needs are not being met in his or her current school placement, it may be time to research your options. "What is best for my child?" is not always an easy question to answer. But I can tell you this: as a parent, you are the best advocate for your child. Knowing your options is part of being that good advocate. If you need any further information, resources or support regarding your child's education please let us know. We are here to serve