Teachers have their hands full no matter what. Put 20+ elementary-aged children in a room together and see for yourself. Every one of them has a unique personality, temperament, way of interacting with others, and learning style. Considering ADHD is on average in around 4-6% of the population, there is usually at least one child in every classroom that has it, and that child has additional unique characteristics, which need to be addressed.
Understanding the struggle an ADHD student has makes providing
an orderly, safe, predictable classroom environment
all the more important.
You may not have any control over how the teacher runs their ship, but you can proactively suggest accommodations that your ADHD child needs. These are above and beyond, or in lieu, of what may be written up in an IEP.
- Inform the teacher of your child’s special interests, like dinosaurs or kittens so they are better equipped to motivate your child.
- Explain how they learn best. Are they visual learners, verbal processors, do they need to move around.
- Ask that they decide, together with your child, on a sign or a code that can be used to remind them to be on task. This could be pulling an ear or picking up a particular object.
- Ask if they could prepare for transitions by providing a warning before a change is about to occur.
- Request modification on assignments if your child is severely impacted with ADHD. The point is to avoid busy work or redundant assignments.
- Request that they be seated in close proximity to the teacher and in an area that has the least amount of distractions and stimulation such as windows and active students.
- If yours is a hyperactive child, ask that the teacher allow a release of energy by delivering an “important letter” in a sealed envelope the school secretary who understands the child’s need to move.
- See if they can provide a cubicle or quiet area for your ADHD child to use when overwhelmed by classroom activity.
- If your child lacks social awareness, let the teacher know this and ask them to encourage sensitivity in your kid as they interact with peers.
- Finally, ask the teacher if they would allow your ADHD child use of self-monitoring techniques to help them focus, like rubbing an object attached to the underside of their desk or in their pocket.
These are only some suggestions that have been effective for others but feel empowered to omit non-relevant ones or come up with some of your own. As the parent, you have the ultimate say in tailoring your child’s education as much as possible.