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Children with ADHD… What Teachers Need to Know

“Why doesn’t my child’s teacher ‘get it?’ ” “Why doesn’t she understand how ADHD really impacts my child?"Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC

 

Why doesn’t my child’s teacher ‘get it?’ ”  “Why doesn’t she understand how ADHD really impacts my child  – that he is not lazy, unmotivated, nor intentionally manipulative?”   I know this opens up a whole set of emotions for many parents out there, so before I go any further, I must clarify two important issues.

First, teachers are individuals, each with their own background, knowledge, and experience.  Unfortunately, many parents and children have had negative experiences with some teachers, but there are also many teachers who have, through their compassion, knowledge and methods, opened the door to learning and personal growth in ways that have been life changing.  Most teachers go into their profession with the intention of enlightening the lives of the children they touch.

Which leads me to the second issue-   Most teachers, especially general education teachers, are not specifically taught about how to recognize ADHD, or how to teach and support children with ADHD.  They may receive a general overview of the symptoms, but they are not given extensive education about the many issues involved in supporting a child with ADHD.

It is this second issue that creates the greatest concern and potentially devastating impact on children.  Here are some of the concerns it raises:

  • ADHD involves a great deal more than impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.   It impacts many areas of learning, including their ability to manage their materials, time, emotions, and productivity.  Without a full understanding of how ADHD is impacting the specific child in the classroom, a teacher might, unknowingly or unintentionally, make assumptions that are false about that child.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 9.5% or 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age have ADHD.  By and large, these children are in the regular education classes.  That means that each regular education class probably has at least one child with ADHD in the classroom.
  • Along with ADHD, there are often co-existing conditions which can complicate the learning in ways that a teacher may not realize.  For example, depression and anxiety may be playing a role in the child’s life and this may not appear evident in the classroom.
  • Many parents look to their children’s teachers for advice and guidance regarding their children’s development and education.  In fact, a recent survey conducted by Parents Magazine and The Child Mind Institute found that a staggering 83% of parents said that they would want their child’s teacher to tell them if he thought their child should be evaluated for a psychiatric or learning disorder.  (Parents Magazine, May 2012, “Attitudes About Children’s Mental Health”).  While experienced teachers may be in a position to notice atypical behavior or performance in a child, without the proper knowledge or training, they must tread very lightly in what and how they communicate to a parent.  Their observations are helpful, in fact, they are a valuable component to the diagnostic process.  However, they must make it clear to any parent that they are NOT qualified to diagnose, and that their observations are within the limited scope of the classroom.

I propose two specific remedies.  The first involves you, the parents of these magnificent children.  As you approach your teacher to discuss your child, keep in mind the following:  This is the person who is with your child each and every school day.  Empathize with the fact that they are responsible for managing and supporting not just your child, but also a whole classroom of children.  Even if you suspect otherwise, approach them with the attitude that they want to help and that you value their insights.  However, although they may have the best intentions, they may not yet understand how to help your child, and in fact, may be unknowingly frustrating, alienating and perhaps even harming your child.   If repeated experience with this teacher leads you to conclude that they are not supportive of your efforts to collaborate, then you may want to involve the guidance counselor or school principal.

The second remedy involves educating the teacher.  For many parents, this is a real awakening – the recognition and acceptance that, for better or worse, your child’s teacher does not really know how to best help your child.  So much of what we know about ADHD and how to treat it effectively we learned within the last decade.  You as the parent have had to become an expert in ADHD and your child.  With due respect, and without judgment, request to share with the teacher some of the knowledge, tools and strategies you have learned.  There are wonderful written resources available that you can share with your teacher, but no one besides you can create the shift and reframing necessary for your teacher to see your child through the lens of compassion and insight about the challenges your child faces like you, the parent, can.

Invite them to ask you for insights about behavior that may seem frustrating or illogical.  You must help the teacher understand why certain accommodations and modifications are truly beneficial.  For example, having “note taking” as a goal may be more frustrating than helpful at certain stages of development.   Providing a set of class notes for your child allows him to focus on the teacher since his working memory makes the act of writing while listening too challenging.  If appropriate, you can explain the impact medication has on your child (for example, that perhaps your child isn’t ready to eat during lunch but may really benefit from a power snack around 2 pm as the meds wear off, or the fact that the end of the day might be particularly challenging for your child to learn new material or remember to pack up properly).

For a true, systemic change to take place in the education of children with ADHD, we will need our teaching colleges to mandate a more in depth training of new general education teachers regarding the latest research on ADHD and the best practices for teaching and supporting these children.  We also need our current teachers to be provided with in-service training regarding the same.  (Note from author: I personally welcome the opportunity to speak to any group of current or future teachers who will have me. Located near New York, NY)

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder.  It is not an excuse for poor behavior, and it is not the result of poor parenting.  Yet, unfortunately, I still hear many stories from children and parents that their teachers do not “believe” or “understand” that the challenges the children face in the classroom and with homework are not fully under the child’s control.  If they could… they would

Keep in mind – kids do well IF THEY CAN.  If not, it’s up to the adults in their world to help them figure out why and to help them succeed – either by helping the children develop the skills, or modifying the expectations or environment until they can.  Teachers are on the frontline of education – we must ensure that they are well equipped with knowledge, skills and strategies to support all children.

Here is a list a list of things you may want to help your teacher know.

 

12 Things Teens with ADHD would like their Teachers to know

by Eileen Bailey

1) I forget things, even important things.

2) I am not stupid

3) Please be patient

4) I really do want to do well.

5) I do complete my homework.

6) ADHD is not an excuse

7) I need help to succeed.

8) If you notice me acting in inappropriate ways, please talk with me in private. Please do not talk to me in front of the class.

9) I don’t like having “special accommodations” in the classroom. Sometimes they are needed to help me succeed and do well. But that doesn’t mean that I like it. Please don’t call attention to any special treatment in front of other students. Please do not draw attention to my ADHD.

10) Detailed explanations of your expectations will help me. I work best when I know exactly what you expect from me.

11) Learning about ADHD is one of the best ways to help me.

12) Although I have ADHD, I am not ADHD. I am a person; I have feelings, hopes, and expectations. I have needs. I want to be liked and accepted. I want to feel good about myself. All of this is important to me. Sometimes I act out to hide my embarrassment or shame. This does not mean that something is not important; on the contrary, it means that it is very important and I am hiding my disappointment that I failed.

 

Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC        © 2012 PTS Coaching.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained. http://www.ptscoaching.com

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On ADHD: Parent to Parent

Honor your child’s individuality while seeking solutions to challenges you face every day.ADD freeSources’ Favorites for Parents

 

On ADHD: Parent to Parent – Honor your child’s individuality while seeking solutions to challenges you face every day.

 

ADHD is a complex disorder that affects both individuals and their families greatly. There’s so much to know about ADHD that you might wonder just what it is that your child really needs from you. While there’s no one right way to deal with the problems you may face, you may find ideas that will work for you from other parents who have faced similar situations. These three articles offer down-to-earth and practical approaches that honor your child’s individuality while acknowledging the very real challenges in your family life.

 

One treasure offers 85 – Yes, ‘85 Important Facts about Raising a Child with ADHD.’  And you’re likely to use every one of them. Why? Because:

  • “…You will need help
    Face it: Everything is easier when there are people to help you.
  • Yes, you will be judged – This is why it’s important to surround yourself with people who understand you and who accept your child as he is.
  • Several ADHD kids have other problems – Whether we’re talking about learning issues, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, or problems in the autism spectrum, all these things can be tagged to an ADHD diagnostic.”
  • A healthy life hygiene is of utmost importance
    Chips + chocolate at 10PM = catastrophe.
  • Lower your expectations
    It won’t hurt as much. No one is perfect.
  • Yes, having a routine is very, very important
    If you never liked routine, you’ll learn to love it. Your sanity depends on it…”

By Eloïse Beaulé from “FamilleTDAH,” a French-Canadian blog that talks about the daily life of a family with three children affected with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Translated by Lauren Berkley

Read more at http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2015/07/08/85-important-facts-about-raising-a-child-with-adhd/#JAEAMSkuuZ07i4mm.99

 

You think your kids don’t notice when you forget what they’re going through and lose your patience with them? ‘What my Son with ADHD would Like Grownups to Know’ records what Heather LeRoss finally understood what it meant to her son to have ADHD. He had more than a few things to say, but here’s a sample.

I want people to know I feel like they don’t like how I am. I want Daddy to know I am not stupid and it hurts my feelings when he says, ‘Are you dumb?’ I want you to know I don’t like it when you yell.”

“I just want it to stop. The yelling, comparing me to other kids that are ‘normal.’ How people tense up sometimes when I just walk into the room. I want people to say I am nice and funny and good at drawing. And not follow it with, ‘If only he could focus like that in other areas.’ I just want to feel like it’s OK to be me.

Read more at The Mighty: https://themighty.com/2015/10/what-my-son-with-adhd-would-like-grown-ups-to-know/ – If link is broken, copy and paste: https://themighty.com/2015/10/boy-with-adhd-shares-what-he-would-like-grown-ups-to-know/

 

Finally, if you’re wondering how to explain how you can live well  with ADHD to your child, check out ‘10 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Life with ADHD’ by Andrea Nordstrom.

“1) You are NOT your Diagnosis.

2) It’s good to Be Different, but Normal to Want to Be the Same.

3) Sometimes You Must Harness Your Energy, But You Should Never Squash It… ”

Read more at The Art of ADD http://www.theartofadd.com/2015/04/23/10-things-i-want-my-kids-to-know-about-life-with-adhd/

 

Dealing with ADHD isn’t easy. But others have gone before and are willing to share their experiences and expertise. You can survive the challenge, but don’t go it alone. If you can, join a support group. Make friends with fellow parents you meet at school or in the Doctor or therapist’s office. If these avenues aren’t possible, follow reputable websites, blogs, social media or join an on-line organization that will keep you informed and offer encouragement. Your goal is to let your child know that they are loved and that they are worthy –  That it’s Okay to just be themselves.

 

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Related Articles: Parent to Parent: What you need to know about ADHD – an open letter from a parent who’s been there,  Alisha Leigh (Pseudonym) and Bill of Rights for Children with ADHD by Ruth Harris
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ADHD – How It’s Different For Girls

Less hyperactive and more compliant than boys, girls often fly under the radar for referrals, yet fall far short of their potential. By Marj Harrison

An ADHD diagnosis is far more common in males than females.  However, many girls are often undiagnosed in childhood and only later in life realize that they, too, fit the diagnostic criteria.  This lack of timely diagnosis and treatment has the potential to create far-reaching consequences academically, psychologically and socially, particularly in teenage girls. Why aren’t girls diagnosed with the same frequency as boys?  The answer is that ADHD has a tendency to look very different in girls.

ADHD in females is often far more subtle and doesn’t fit neatly into the common stereotypes because girls tend to be less hyperactive and more compliant than boys, making ADHD more difficult to spot.  Girls are far more likely to drift along in elementary school and struggle less than boys academically while, at the same time, falling far short of their potential and flying under the radar for referrals.  By the middle and high school years, teenage girls often experience more apparent academic and social problems due to the increased demands and pressure to succeed.

What does a teenage girl with ADHD look like?  The answer is; it depends on the girl.  Some girls with ADHD may, in fact, be hyperactive and drawn to activities that are typically thought of as boyish.  They tend to be disorganized, messy, rushers and risk takers, and tend to be viewed as undisciplined and unmotivated academically. Others fit into the daydreamer category.  They are often shy and overlooked. Also, although they may appear to being paying attention, their minds are often elsewhere. The diagnosis of ADHD/Inattentive is an easy one to miss. These girls are quiet and not really bothering anyone, although they may be struggling tremendously internally.  They tend to be anxious, self-critical and often appear depressed. Another form of ADHD seen in girls is a combination of both the hyperactive and inattentive types of ADHD, although these girls are often more hyper-talkative than hyperactive. Girls with a combined type diagnosis may present as active, excitable and emotional, have difficulty staying quiet in the classroom, interrupt others frequently and jump from topic to topic due to difficulty with organization of their thoughts. They tend to be risk-takers and often fall short of their potential academically.

Interestingly, teenage boys with ADHD tend to externalize their symptoms.  They blame others for their poor grades, blame the stupid test they didn’t do well on, they act out and they act up.  Boys with AHDH are usually difficult to ignore and are far more likely than girls to get the academic services and accommodations they need to succeed.  Teenage girls, however, tend to be internalizers. They are more likely to blame themselves and turn their anger, frustration and pain inward. Without proper diagnosis, an understanding of how their unique brains work and without support for their skill deficits, every failure becomes evidence of their inadequacy. Girls often harbor feelings that they don’t belong, believe they are not smart enough, and view themselves quite simply as not being good enough.  The price teenage girls with ADHD pay is far too often that of poor self-esteem, chronic stress, depression, anxiety and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. These feelings arise from the very nature of the disorder itself; disorganization, poor time management, chronic lateness, difficulty sustaining attention, weak emotional control, distractibility and generally poor executive skills.
What do teenage girls with ADHD need to thrive?  Knowledge and support.  Knowledge becomes power as the true nature of the ADHD diagnosis is revealed and its power to impact all life areas is uncovered.  This self-knowledge sets the stage for change and self-advocacy.  Support is essential to the successful management of ADHD.  Skills need to be developed and turned into habits. Negative mindsets need to be reset. Structure must be created to develop routines. A sense of resiliency and mindfulness must form.  And, compassion and understanding must prevail within the self and within the environment.  ADHD is different for girls, but while it may be more subtle and not fit the common male stereotype of ADHD, it is no less debilitating and much more emotionally devastating in females.

 

 

By Marj Harrison, M.A., Ed.M. – © 2013 PTS Coaching. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained.

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What is ADHD?

What is ADHD- What causes ADHD-How isNote: I’ve divided this extensive article into a number of smaller posts. You may read this article in its entirety here: What is ADHD? – NIMH

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). These symptoms can make it difficult for a child with ADHD to succeed in school, get along with other children or adults, or finish tasks at home.

Brain imaging studies have revealed that, in youth with ADHD, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed, on average, by about 3 years.1 The delay is most pronounced in brain regions involved in thinking, paying attention, and planning. More recent studies have found that the outermost layer of the brain, the cortex, shows delayed maturation overall,2 and a brain structure important for proper communications between the two halves of the brain shows an abnormal growth pattern.3 These delays and abnormalities may underlie the hallmark symptoms of ADHD and help to explain how the disorder may develop.

Treatments can relieve many symptoms of ADHD, but there is currently no cure for the disorder. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and using new tools such as brain imaging, to better understand ADHD and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.

 

Republished from NIMH – “What is Attention Deficit Disorder?” – – Retrieved May 26, 1915 – No longer posted online. They now use an “Easy to Read” article instead. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission.

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How can I work with my child’s school?

How can I work with my child’s school?

If you think your child has ADHD, or a teacher raises concerns, you may be able to request that the school conduct an evaluation to determine whether he or she qualifies for special education services.

Start by speaking with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or the school’s student support team, to begin an evaluation. Also, each state has a Parent Training and Information Center and a Protection and Advocacy Agency that can help you get an evaluation. A team of professionals conducts the evaluation using a variety of tools and measures. It will look at all areas related to the child’s disability.

Once your child has been evaluated, he or she has several options, depending on the specific needs. If special education services are needed and your child is eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the school district must develop an “individualized education program” specifically for your child within 30 days.

If your child is considered not eligible for special education services—and not all children with ADHD are eligible—he or she still can get “free appropriate public education,” available to all public-school children with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

For more information on Section 504, consult the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Section 504 in programs and activities that receive Federal education funds.

Visit the Department of Education website  for more information about programs for children with disabilities.

Transitions can be difficult. Each school year brings a new teacher and new schoolwork, a change that can be especially hard for a child with ADHD who needs routine and structure. Consider telling the teachers that your child has ADHD when he or she starts school or moves to a new class. Additional support will help your child deal with the transition.

Bill of Rights for Children with ADHD

HELP ME TO FOCUS …Bill of Rights

Please teach me through my sense of touch.
I need “hands-on” and body movement.

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT …

Please give me a structured environment where
there is a dependable routine. Give me an
advance warning if there will be changes.

WAIT FOR ME, I’M STILL THINKING …

Please allow me to go at my own pace.
If I’m rushed, I get confused and upset.

I’M STUCK, I CAN’T DO IT! …

Please offer me options for problem-solving.
If the road is blocked, I need to know the detours.

IS IT RIGHT? I NEED TO KNOW NOW …

Please give me rich and immediate feedback
on how I’m doing.

I DIDN’T KNOW I WASN’T IN MY SEAT! …

Please remind me to stop, think, and act.

AM I ALMOST DONE? …

Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.

WHAT? …

Please don’t say “I already told you that.”
Tell me again, in different words.
Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.

I KNOW IT’S ALL WRONG, ISN’T IT? …

Please give me praise for partial success.
Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.

BUT WHY DO I ALWAYS GET YELLED AT? …

Please catch me doing something right and
praise me for the specific positive behavior.
Remind me—and yourself—about my good points
when I’m having a bad day.

 

(Reprinted from Newsletter of The Delaware Association For The Education of Young Children, Winter 1993-94) © 1991, Ruth Harris, Northwest Reading Clinic – Harvested 3-1-2015 – https://www.kidsenabled.org/articles/diagnosis/reality-adhd – Sorry, Link is broken

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Parent to Parent: What you need to know about ADHD

by Alisha Leigh (Pseudonym)Parent to Parent

I’m not a medical doctor, psychologist, lawyer or another expert. I’m a mom who struggles to help my ADHD/ADD child. In this regard, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time searching for answers. It’s my hope that by sharing this information it will raise public awareness as well as be instrumental in lending a helping hand toward finding “a place to start.” There’s something here for everybody.

Perhaps you’ve just learned your child has ADHD, and you are on an emotional roller coaster ride. Perhaps you’ve scanned this letter and felt an overwhelming sense of fear, frustration, or what next? —Maybe felt, “I can’t do this.” Consider yourself normal. Parenting a special needs child is a challenge, but you can do it.

On the upside, it is easier to deal with a problem if you know what you are dealing with. Now you can begin to sort things out and make a plan.

Listed below are some tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1.  Accept that there is a problem, whether or not you accept the diagnosis. Denial will not help you or your child.
  2. Do not expend energy grieving that your child is “labeled.” No, it’s not fair but grieving will not make things better. Take some time to pull yourself together — then get on with parenting your child.
  3. Be prepared to feel guilty about the time you spend parenting your ADHD child compared to the time you spend with other family members. Be prepared for the backlash you may get caught-up in as a result of other family members feeling neglected.
  4. You will have to look deep within yourself to find patience. Patience dealing with your child, patience waiting for appointments, patience waiting for test results, patience when working with the school district, patience, patience, patience.
  5. In general, all children need structure. ADHD children require more structure, routine and consistency.
  6. Behavior management plans do not work overnight—many times it takes two to three months to see results—sometimes longer. Many times the “plan” ends up being a little from this one and a little from that one. Make clear, age and developmentally appropriate rules and consequences for infraction of those rules. Your child must know your expectations.
  7. It is critical that all caregivers in the household be on the same page when it comes to disciplining your child. If one parent perceives his/her spouse to be very lenient and the other has the opposite perspective, it’s time for the parents to compromise. If it requires that you have a family meeting and put rules and consequences on paper — so be it. Behavioral expectations and consequences for violations should be as consistent as possible between caregivers. Remember “structure, consistency.” And yes, this is easier said than done.
  8. In my opinion, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is somewhat of a misnomer. It’s not that ADHD children do not pay attention, it’s that they are bombarded with information. Their filtering system does not work correctly.
  9. It’s not unusual for an ADHD child to do well one day, and not so well the next. If you think your child can perform well in school today because s/he did yesterday, you are mistaken.
  10. ADHD children are very sensitive to their environment. The more noise, color, people, clutter, movement, the higher the difficulty level staying focused. Guard against over-stimulus.
  11.  ADHD children generally do not transition well. I’ve found it helpful to give my child “lead time.” For example, rather than saying “8:00 p.m. — bedtime,” it works better if I give some lead time by saying, “bedtime in 15 minutes…bedtime in 10 minutes…bedtime in 5 minutes.”
  12. Many people you meet will think they know a lot about ADHD, but actually they know very little. Some people do not believe there is such a thing as ADHD. It is these people that inadvertently add to our burden. They have no concept of the disorder, choose to have no more than a cursory knowledge of ADHD, yet tend to shout the loudest and have the strongest opinion that “it’s the parenting. I could straighten him out in a week.” It would be so wonderful if that was the case, but it is not. If your efforts to educate them fall on deaf ears, print a copy of this letter and give it to them. If that doesn’t work “maverick mom” has some excellent advice in my opinion: Tell them to blow it out their socks.
  13.  It is our job as parents to teach our children to function in this world to the best of their ability. In this respect, do not let the ADHD “label” cripple them. Keep your expectations high and teach them to adapt the best they can. As a parent, it’s difficult to walk the centerline of teaching responsibility while addressing potential limitations.
  14. This day in time everyday living is a challenge. Throw in an ADHD child, the extra time required to parent a special needs child, problems with health insurance, the extra financial strain, perhaps an uncooperative school district, the additional stress within the family unit and you have a formula for a full-blown crisis. Do not forget to take care of you. You can’t adequately care for your child(ren) if you’re mentally and physically falling apart. Do something special for yourself from time to time. Join a support group, call a crisis hotline when necessary, go to see a movie, go shopping, and/or see a counselor.
  15. There is still much that is unknown about ADHD, but treatment has come a long way by comparison to yesteryears. There is reason to believe that ADHD treatment will improve as research advances.
  16. Unfortunately ADHD/ADD rarely travels alone—it appears to be the norm rather than the exception when there are no accompanying disorders such as an auditory processing disorder, learning disorder, bi-polar, non-verbal learning disorder, sensory integration disorder, etc. And just because your child makes good grades in school doesn’t mean the child does not have a co-existing disorder.
  17. Trust your instincts. No one knows your child better than you.

 

Free rights to republish granted in original post
Originally published at http://www.adhd-add.info/ (Now defunct – Harvested 2010)

 

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