School is necessary for all children and can impart knowledge, confidence, and a path to bright futures and increased possibilities. For some children, though, particularly those with disabilities like ADD and ADHD, school can be a place of struggle and frustration.
Whether or not your child has a disability like ADD/ADHD, there are a few key issues that can hold him or her back in school. Five of these are listed, along with tips for how to counteract them.
Many children enter school on various medications or become medicated once they begin school. This can be beneficial, particularly if illnesses or disorders are severe, but often, students are overly medicated.
Medications like Adderall, Risperdal, and Ritalin have come under fire because of damaging side effects, such as the growth of breasts in boys, increased depression, and decreased energy.
Medical professionals have also admitted that these medications are aimed at an area of the brain which the medical community knows the least about.
Fortunately, alternatives to these medications exist. Most of these are vitamins and other supplements. One popular supplement is the Focus Formula, an herbal remedy in the form of a nasal spray.
The formula is also gluten-free, which can benefit children who experience symptoms of disorders due to heavy gluten intake. Similar supplements, which come in both caplets and chews, include Confinzia and common B12 and B6 supplements.
Most teachers are passionate about nurturing and educating children, but the limitations of most classrooms don’t make individual attention possible. Yet, students with ADD/ADHD and other disorders need extra attention and modifications.
These students will not blossom under teachers whose classrooms are too structured, lecture-heavy, or lacking in opportunities to create. Parents should seek out teachers and classrooms that allow kinesthetic learning and creativity.
Search for teachers who can move fairly quickly from point to point and who are willing to make modifications to their classrooms as needed, such as not expecting a child with ADD to listen to a lecture and take notes at the same time.
A better solution might be allowing the student to tape-record the lecture or allowing him or her to copy another student’s notes.
Students with ADD/ADHD and other disabilities are much more likely to encounter bullying than their typically developing peers. Since school is quite social, one bully can ruin your child’s educational experience. Be proactive and alert teachers and administrators as soon as you suspect a problem.
Also, encourage your child to explore his or her interests through extracurricular activities. This may help him or her find a peer group based upon strengths rather than weaknesses and disabilities.
Under federal law, students with disabilities, including ADD/ADHD, are required to have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and any modifications they need to learn in their least restrictive environment.
However, sometimes, these IEPs are not followed, and if they are, the expectations set forth in them are too low. Whether consciously or not, teachers and administrators often underestimate these children, giving them less work, fewer challenges, and fewer opportunities than they can actually handle.
To deal with this issue, please make sure that as a parent, you attend all IEP and other such meetings, and insist upon your signed consent to any plans put in place. Focus as much as possible on your child’s strengths and abilities and make clear that you want his or her teachers to respond to those as much as possible.
Disorders like ADD/ADHD are frustrating for any parent. However, without constant support, your child may not be as likely to succeed in school. Of course, you will have times when you express frustration, but try to minimize those.
Educate yourself thoroughly about your child’s disorder so you know how it feels to experience life as he or she does. Pay particular attention to your child’s academic successes, and when failures or slip-ups do occur, encourage your child to keep trying. Emphasize that you are there to help and that your love is a constant, in and out of school.
School can be an unhappy place for some children, particularly those with disabilities like ADD/ADHD. However, once you know the common things that make school this way, you and your child can counteract them together. This can lead to a brighter academic future, and a better future overall.
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