Teachers are given specific guidelines to follow with ADD/ADHD learners. If you have a child with the disorder, you should make yourself aware of the techniques that the teacher in your child’s room is using to educate your child. This will help you work with the teacher, and you may have better suggestions for her to follow, since no one child is the same and you know your child better than anyone. Every parent should partner with his child’s teacher in order to provide his child with the best education possible. If your child has ADD/ADHD, you need to be a part of your child’s educational team, rather than someone who is relegated to the sidelines. In order for you to do that, you need to understand some of the guidelines teachers are told to follow for their ADD/ADHD students.
The Learning Environment:
Teachers work to place ADD/ADHD students near their desk, but within the regular seating of the classroom so the student doesn’t feel ostracized. The teacher will attempt to surround him with students who can be good examples to him and place him away from any high traffic distractions such as doors or windows. The teacher will also have a stimuli-reduced study area such as a nook set off apart from the class. This can easily be created by using bookshelves to wall off a corner of the room, providing a quiet study area. All children should have access to this space so your child doesn’t feel singled out, and you should encourage your child to take advantage of it as often as needed. Discuss your home study-setting with your teacher. You should have routines in place at home that encourage homework participation, and you should periodically check your child’s notebook and book bag to help him with organization.
One of the benefits of having your ADD/ADHD student’s desk placed near the teacher is that she can make frequent eye-contact while teaching or giving other instructions. She will use clear, concise, simple directions when instructing and have a follow-up discussion with your child to ascertain his comprehension of the directions. The teacher may decide to have your child keep a notebook of assignments and she may even choose to communicate with you through the notebook. Be sure to take advantage of that communication by checking your child’s notebook for homework assignments and sending your child’s teacher feedback on how she can better help him in the classroom. If your child is in public school, he will also have an individualized education program (IEP) drawn up by his teacher. You will want to familiarize yourself with this and be actively involved in crafting it.
Managing Classroom Behavior:
Your child’s teacher has been taught to always stay calm and avoid arguments with an ADD/ADHD student. She should be consistent with punishments and enforcement of the class rules. She should never ridicule your student, or publicly draw attention to his disorder by discussing it in front of the class. Reminders for medication are to be done in private. She is also taught to reward more than she punishes, praise immediately any and all good behavior, and change non-motivating rewards to something that will motivate your child.
You may find your own parenting methods at odds with what your child’s teacher has been taught to do. In this case, talk privately with the teacher and see if you can come up with a good plan of action that you both are comfortable with enforcing. Your learner needs consistency and he needs all of the adults in his life to be on the same page. If you find that your wishes for your child’s education are completely ignored, you may want to consider homeschooling or find a private school that is in line with your desires for your child’s education. Whatever decision you make, remember that you are your child’s best advocate and make it your priority to know what is happening in his classroom.