Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Many of our children had exciting new starts today! For our kiddos with ADHD, a new school year can be accompanied by a whole variety of emotions and challenges.
Here are my top tips for starting off the new school year in the most positive way...
1. Arrange A Meeting With The Teacher
Set up a meeting ASAP with your child's new teacher so that you can help them to understand your child, the biggest strengths and challenges, and how to get the very best out of them. Build a positive relationship with the teacher and let them know that you are here to assist them in any way you can. You are all on the same team.
2. Then Take A Step Back
After the initial conversation with the teacher, give them some time, a few weeks at least, to get to know your child, and their entire class, and to make their own assessment of your child's support needs.
3. Join The School's Parents Committee
I know those meetings can be a pain but there is no better way to get to know the workings of the school and to form relationships with all of the key individuals that can help your child to get any type of help or support they may need in the future.
Specifically, try to get to know the principal and the yoetz/et (school guidance counselor).
4. Be Prepared To Be Your Child's Secretary If Necessary
Make sure you are fully aware of your child's daily schedule, including any homework, and build strict routines and timetables so that everyone is clear on when it is time for work and when it is time for play.
It's often said that children should be left to work things out for themselves and allowed learn from their mistakes. That simply doesn't work for many of our kids that have significant executive function deficits. For now, at least, they may well need much more hands-on support than their non-ADHD peers and there's nothing to be ashamed of in that.
5. Remember That The Responsibility For Your Child's Success Lies Not With Them, But With The Adults In Their Life.
Remind yourself, and your child's teachers, that school can be so much tougher for our kids with ADHD and they are likely to face extra challenges throughout the year, through no fault of their own. Never forget that your child desperately wants to succeed, and will always do so, when they can.
It follows, therefore, that on occasions when they are not meeting expectations, either academically or behaviourally, it is not because they have chosen to fail but that there MUST be something standing in their way. Our job, as adults, is to help them identify the obstacles to their success and then to work together with them to find a way to overcome them.
When a child with ADHD feels like the adults in their life understand them, know that they are doing their best, and will not blame them when things don't go according to plan, they have the perfect foundations for a happy and fulfilling school experience.
Wishing all of our children the happiest and most exciting year ahead!