Today, I’m excited to bring you the first of a two part series on helping children with ADHD courtesy of our sponsors at Charles Wright. It’s written by Mary Beth Cole. She’s the lower school learning specialist at Charles Wright, and one of the founders of the local chapter of CHADD (Children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I hope you find this interesting-I know I sure did!
I have the wonderful privilege of working with elementary age children as the Lower School Learning Specialist at Charles Wright Academy. This is a critical developmental stage in a child’s life and the one with the greatest opportunity to improve student academic experience.
Sometimes, when students with ADHD first come to me, they are frustrated. In fact, often everyone involved in the child’s life-siblings, parents, and teacher alike-are frustrated.
One of the best parts of my job (besides working with the kids), is the opportunity to make a positive difference in the student’s life. My goal as a Learning Specialist is to develop an individualized plan for each child. Working in conjunction with the teacher and parents, I develop a plan to teach to each child’s strengths. That requires having an accurate assessment of a child’s ability. This sets the child up for success by teaching to his/her abilities. It also means teaching listening and study habits, tutoring, homework, organization skills, and more.
There’s a saying about parents being their children’s first teachers. It’s true. As a parent, there’s a big advantage to having a clear understanding of your child’s learning needs. Once you understand your child’s specific needs, you can advocate for your child. You, along with your child’s teachers, can implement strategies to teach your child in a manner best suited toward his or her learning style.
For example, children with ADHD have difficulty following multi-step directions. It is important for parents and teachers to keep instructions short, specific, and direct. To ensure that the child fully understands the task at hand, ask the child to rephrase directions back to you in his/her own words. It seems simple, but that one change makes a huge difference in daily life for everyone involved. Suddenly, parents understand how to talk to their child about chores. Teachers understand how to discuss a class assignment. The child comprehends and understands the task. SUCCESS!
If this all sounds great, but you’re wondering where to begin, don’t despair! Tomorrow, I’ll have part two of this article, with a list of specific steps to take if you know or suspect that your child needs help with an attention issue. You’ll also want to check out a local CHADD meeting. There is one coming up at Charles Wright on the 23rd. It’s totally free, and always open to the public. Come learn about strategies, hear from experts, and meet other parents of children with attention deficit and hyperactivity.
Disclosure: Charles Wright Academy is a sponsor of Sounds Fun Mom. They are not officially affiliated with CHADD. If you check out any events or business you see on the site, I love for you to mention Sounds Fun Mom. Thanks!
Photo credit: LifeMentalHealth at Flickr Used under a Creative Commons License