A discussion of how to help your ADHD student be successful at school by helping them at home.
Guest Post by: Lindsay Bohlinger (http://elevatedgiftedness.com)
Does the thought of sitting down with your ADHD student to do homework give you a pit in your stomach? It’s totally normal to feel that way because your student is unique and it can be difficult to know where to start and how to support your child’s unique learning needs.
Just like every child, we want to make sure are able to help them feel successful in their school work at home while still remaining in a loving, supportive parent role. It’s a daunting task to feel like you are parenting well and helping your child grow into the potential you know they have. Today I want to share a few tips on how to help your ADHD student at home with their school work and help them develop their strengths as a student.
Believe in your child
- ADHD students have and will make some of the most important contributions to our world. (Mozart, Albert Einstein, Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake, Richard Branson, Terry Bradshaw, David Neeleman)
Be sure to provide supports that play to their strengths. This allows them to see themselves as successful.
- Allow and encourage them to be creative
- Create for your ADHD student the opportunity for them to be hands on with learning
- Give them examples of how to try to tie in their interests within the subject
Understand where your child excels and where they struggle.
Have the gifted and talented specialist or the special education teacher go over test scores with you in detail because you can thus gain a better understanding of how your ADHD child’s brain is working. Ask to see*:
- Cognitive Test Scores
- Intellectual Scores
- Psychological Scores
- Have the gifted and talented specialist or the special education teacher go over test scores with you in detail because you can thus gain a better understanding of how your ADHD child’s brain is working. Ask to see*:
These scores and understanding what they mean will help you find ways at home to help your child with their work at home.
*It is your right to see these scores and they should be included in your child’s IEP/504 evaluations. Because some school districts have limited resources, schools do not necessarily do all of this type of testing. So there is a possibility you may need to seek out private testing.
Set up a learning space and time
Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses will help you plan this space and ideal time for working on school work.
Some ideas to consider using with your ADHD student:
Set expectations for homework time but be clear with consequences
- Ex: We are going to work on homework for 20 minutes and then we can take a break. If you are working really hard for those 20 minutes we can ______. (Play to their interests and what they enjoy doing during breaks)
- Allow them to use their preferred method of learning if possible
- Give small to-do lists
- Allow breaks, however keep them short
- Have music available to help keep them focused
- Divide larger assignments or projects into smaller chunks
Check in on their progress after 5-10 minutes
- Provide positive reinforcement and feedback during these check ins
- Use a timer for task completion
- Set expectations for homework time but be clear with consequences
- Some ideas to consider using with your ADHD student:
- Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses will help you plan this space and ideal time for working on school work.
Create outside learning opportunities
- Mentorships in their area of interests
Community colleges and Universities often offer summer camps that might play into your ADHD student’s interest and strengths. Here are a few in Colorado I am familiar with:
- AIMs Community College has College for Kids
- University of Northern Colorado offers Summer Enrichment Program
- Colorado State University offers Little Shop of Physics
- Colorado University in Boulder has Summer Institute for Gifted
- Check out your local community colleges and universities to see if they offer something similar to the things listed above.
- Make sure outside challenges are set up to meet your ADHD student at their level because we don’t want them to fail or feel like they won’t be successful
Work with their teachers to help with supports and accommodations
- Ask the teachers what is working well in class for your ADHD student, and try to use those things at home. Consistency will help your ADHD student feel like they are capable of learning anywhere if they can use the same supports at home and at school.
- You may even have some strategies that work well at home you can suggest to the teacher. Do not ever be afraid to help your ADHD student’s teacher out with ideas to help your child feel successful- most teacher’s appreciate know what works well at home so they can try it in the classroom
This is just to get you started. I would also encourage you to join other parenting groups of gifted and ADHD parents because it is helpful to gain more insight into what they have done with their child at home to help them feel supported and successful at home while working on school work.
BRYAN WISDA’s NOTE: I had the unique opportunity to meet Lindsay on Instagram. She is a passionate and caring person. She is also quite an accomplished Special Education Teacher in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area. Lindsay has a Masters in Special Education and is currently a PhD candidate in Special Education. She is doing phenomenal work helping children who are ADHD, 2E, Autistic, and Gifted by working as an advocate to help these children get the support they need from the schools and school districts. She is an outstanding resource. Please consider reaching out to her individually if you child needs help and you are encountering roadblocks. Lindsay can be reached through her website Elevated Giftedness.