What do Howie Mandel, Justin Timberlake, Richard Branson, Michael Phelps and Jim Carey have in common? They have all been diagnosed with ADHD. Knowing that successful people not only cope with ADHD, but use all that energy and enthusiasm to fuel their careers can be a wonderful motivator for students and parents. With a few tips from the experts, you can find an academic solution that helps your students to shine.
Talk to your teachers
This is the most important step in the process. Your teachers will probably have experience dealing with ADHD students and they can help to set up a routine at school and communicate with your child in a way that they both find helpful.
Speak to your teacher about where to place your child in the classroom to minimize distraction.
Communication is key for your child to get the most out of every class so make sure that you speak with your teachers regularly to discuss issues or upcoming assignments and tests.
Try to perform daily tasks at the same time as this helps to focus energy and gives a pattern to the day that will help you and your student to stay organized and on top of homework.
Students may seem willful but often they just get distracted when you are speaking with them. When giving instructions or directions, use concise language and keep it short. Ask your student to repeat instructions to ensure that they have heard you.
Make sure homework tasks, assignments and upcoming tests and exams are listed on a schedule that is very accessible. Use a white board in the kitchen, or a smartphone app or a calendar in the bedroom; anything to help remind your student of the tasks that need to be completed.
Ensure that the space where your student studies is well lit, quiet and free from distraction. Ensure that other siblings don’t offer additional distractions and that there is an environment conducive to learning.
Ensure that your student gets enough sleep or they may have trouble concentrating in class.
Break It Down
When students begin to feel overwhelmed by a particularly big task or when they feel like they have too much to do, help them to break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. Set out a schedule with each small task written down to show that it’s manageable. Focusing on small short term goals will help to keep them focused and involved.
Physical Activity and Diet
Often overlooked by educators is the importance of exercise and nutrition in dealing with ANY student. Sending children, especially those with ADHD, off to school after eating cereal loaded with sugar is going to have an adverse effect on the child’s ability to sit and concentrate. One can think of exercise as a medication and food as a drug that in combination can help a child eliminate or reduce the need for other types of substances that are in my opinion too readily prescribed. Back in Dec./Jan 2008 the magazine ADDitude had five stories focused on approaches to ADHD that reduced the need for medications.