Understanding ADHD and Helping Children Succeed

Students who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to struggle in school more than their counterparts. Students with ADHD have daily struggles with organization and forgetfulness, time management and procrastination. All of these lead to assignments not being turned in on time and, sometimes, lower grades than the student is capable of.

Has your child been diagnosed with ADHD? Here’s what you can do to help.

Care & Treatment

Ensure that your child is receiving effective care and treatment. A combination of interventions is most effective, as shown by the Multimodal Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Study
(MTA Study).

The study modes include behavior therapy, medication, and school support. Beyond that, proper diet and regular exercise are key.

Compassion & Understanding

Your child is not purposefully forgetting assignments, keeping a messy backpack, or failing tests. Having ADHD makes it much more difficult for students to concentrate and stay engaged in activities that are of little interest to them.
Make sure your child understands their diagnosis, as that will assist them in learning to manage tasks and monitor behavior. Removing breaks such as recess or giving them extra work is not recommended as a consequence or punishment.

Communicate & Follow Up

Open and frequent communication will assist your child’s support team in their daily efforts and interactions with your child. It is very important that everyone involved be aware of changes in mood, behaviors, and medications. Share new diagnostic information as it becomes available and follow up after phone calls and meetings with teachers, doctors, and counselors.

Schedule & Organize

Children with ADHD often perform and feel better when there is structure and planned activities. Create a schedule with your child that includes school, tutoring, free time, chores, extra-curricular activities, family time, and meals. Schedule activities as far in advance as possible and let your child know asap when there are changes. Help your child stay organized by supplying a binder, folders, pencil bags, sticky notes, a calendar, pens, and markers. Also, provide an appropriate work/study space where there are few (or no) distractions.

Diet & Exercise

Recent studies have shown that diet and exercise play a role in moderating the effects of ADHD. Studies out of University of Copenhagen suggest that, “fatty acids from fatty fish moderate symptoms of ADHD.” Other studies point to reducing symptoms of ADHD by engaging in aerobic activity before school. A Michigan State University study suggests that before school workouts “could help improve attentiveness, moodiness, and difficulty getting along with others.”

Rules & Rewards

Set clear rules and logical consequences for your child and offer rewards when they follow the rules. Rewards do not have to be materialistic or tangible – words of praise, extra game-time, or a sleepover with a friend are all perfectly acceptable rewards. Consistent praise for positive behavior increases the possibility that the desired behavior continues.

As we have learned here at Odyssey school, when given the proper support, students with ADHD can thrive and be extremely successful. Remember to be compassionate and consistent, seek and follow- though with proper treatments, communicate with teachers, counselors, and administrators, create a stable and quiet study space, and set clear rules and expectations for your child. Finally, offer regular praise for positive behaviors. This is a recipe for academic, emotional, and social success.

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