Are boarding schools for ADHD a good choice for my child?

Many parents of ADHD teens wonder whether or not an alternative, // is a good option for their child. There are many factors to consider when making this decision, and it’s best to start with the aptitudes and interests of the child. For kids who are having a hard time transitioning from home to school and from school to home, a boarding school might be a better option. Teens who are having difficulties setting and reaching educational goals also benefit from a therapeutic boarding school. Finally, teens with behavioral issues in addition to ADHD also seem to thrive in an alternative boarding school program.

An organized lifestyle with no schedule surprises seems to work best for kids with ADHD. In a normal household, though, especially with siblings, schedule surprises happen and parents are much better able to be flexible and to go with the flow. Kids with ADHD however are extremely stressed out by normal variances in living patterns and have a hard time controlling their emotions in response. If your child would benefit from a lifestyle with easier transitions, meaning that the line between school and home is blurred, like in homeschooling, then perhaps an alternative boarding school is the best decision.

Another feature that an ADHD boarding school will often have is individualized one on one teaching. Instead of being in a classroom with social distractions that can deter from academic success, these boot camp boarding schools will work directly with students to create realistic and personalized educational goals, and make sure that they’re met. They often use a hands-on learning approach, that caters to each child’s individual learning style. Many parents of ADD and ADHD kids are baffled by school test results; “But he knows this.” And yet he’s testing poorly, maybe because it rained or the pencil was yellow. Then suddenly the child is punished or held back, when they’re ready to advance. This wouldn’t happen at a reputable ADHD school, because they are focused on success, positively working with students to be sure that they reach their highest goals. The end result is a confident learner who has the skills and intelligence necessary to survive the real world, where you can chose a different colored pencil and rainy days aren’t quite the same.

One characteristic of ADHD kids is that they struggle to communicate emotional issues. One moment they’re happy and a few hours later they could be on the floor in tears, or having a raging fit. Alternatively, they could be staring off into space or simply screaming. The trained professionals at an ADD boarding school work to create a controlled environment where early outburst warning signs are dealt with immediately, whether your child’s early indicator is fidgeting, jumping, or humming. The counselors and staff are trained to systematically empower kids to get in touch with their responses and learn more constructive ways of handling things, without ending up in a fit. Some conscientious parent notice these patterns, too, but responding each and every time would be emotionally impossible.

Consider deeply whether or not you think your child would benefit from a personalized behavior modification plan, with 24 hour a day monitoring by expert counselors. Would a personalized academic plan designed to focus on their strengths and help them meet educational goals be the best thing for your child? Would the caring environment of a good alternative boarding school help your child transition better, with a stable and steady flow from one activity to the next? If you’re thinking of choosing a boarding school, be sure to look at all of the options and think of your child’s strengths and weaknesses before deciding which one offers the best environment.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

Finding the right ADD boarding school for your child

How to choose the right school for ADHD