Teachers are trained professionals whereas a parent of a child with ADHD may have little or no training in education. In fact the parents may know little about their child’s condition. So any information a parent can acquire and any skills they can develop is good news for the child.
Knowing what the teacher/s is doing for the child is a great place to start. Parents could divide their understanding into three areas:
- Physical set-up for the child
- Teaching programs and
- The tips and tricks used by the teacher when helping the child
Remember the education of a child with ADHD doesn’t start and end in the classroom. The same principles used by the teacher in school can and should apply at home with the parents.
The teacher will place the child in the best seating position to avoid distractions and assist communications with the teacher. If you are supervising homework or simply working on an activity at home, don’t place your child beside the window where they can easily look outside and become distracted. Don’t have them facing the television and certainly don’t have it on while you are trying to help with homework. Do place them in a position where you and the child can easily make eye contact.
A parent doesn’t have to learn the entire curriculum being taught to their child at school but being aware of what is happening is a great help. It means the parent can become an add-on factor in their child’s education. The parent can reinforce what has happened in the classroom. If a particular topic is being examined, the parents can offer additional resources and test or quiz their child on that subject.
The tips and tricks used by the teacher can center on things like eye-contact, hand signs and flash cards with symbols. The eye contact aspect is important as it encourages the child to think before acting – they need the okay from the teacher [and now the parent] before giving an answer or asking a question. Rather than giving verbal commands all the time, the teacher may use a flash card with a symbol which could mean ‘sit still’ or ‘raise your hand’. Parents can again reinforce what is happening in the classroom and thus help their child.
Develop a strong relationship with your child’s teacher. You need to be able to tell the teacher about any developments at home. In today’s media-savvy world, you could easily email your child’s teacher with whatever news is required.
Your child’s teacher could make a comment in a notebook brought home each day by your child. This could help you in any follow-up activities or in asking questions of your child. Never forget it is a team effort in your child’s education.
Investigate whether your child is eligible for the services of a professional counselor or psychologist. Funding for such specialists may be available for your child. As a parent there is almost no limit to the tasks you can perform as part of your child’s schooling.