Sending children to boarding school is an emotional challenge for most parents. It’s so much more difficult for parents who have ADD ADHD kids. Knowing the challenges that their kids go through everyday, living among other children and adults who are virtually strangers seem quite a leap. What exactly can parents expect in ADD ADHD boarding schools?
Boarding schools are not all the same. Boarding schools for students with ADD ADHD have their own unique way of making school interesting and significantly helpful for their students. There are a few things one can usually expect from good schools, though. Here are some examples:
- A supportive environment – One of the biggest obstacle for ADD ADHD students who study in traditional schools is being among people who don’t understand their disorder. Especially for students with ADD, they can just fade in the background and be labelled as lazy, unfocused, unmotivated, stupid, or belligerent. Those with the hyperactive kind of ADD are often also seen as disruptive and undisciplined. Even if people knew a child had ADD/ADHD, being in an environment where responsible adults know what this really means and what would be helpful for children who has ADD/ADHD helps a lot. Children don’t need to live with the labels but rather they can know themselves better and proactively find ways to rise above the challenges they meet everyday.
- Structure and routine – Providing ADD ADHD children with structure is an essential part of living with the disorder. Parents who provide their children with structure at home do things in order to make organization a lot easier. Establishing structure goes well beyond establishing routine. It also means helping children understand how to adjust their routines in order to accommodate some changes and using techniques such as reminders placed in different areas of the house in order to help children remember where things should be placed, where they should be at a certain time of the day, and more. ADD ADHD boarding schools specialize in building structure and helping students adhere to this structure. The short term goal is to help students work with a structure in order to meet their coursework, but the longterm goal is to teach them how to learn to live independently and be successful in their personal and professional lives.
- Healthy activities – A healthy amount of physical activities help keep the symptoms of ADD ADHD at bay for children. It helps them relax and channel their energies to better use. Medically speaking, exercising elevates the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, acting like Ritalin or Adderall, except without the negative side effects. This is why ADD ADHD boarding schools integrate short breaks in between classes as well as a lot of physical activities during the day. Some schools also use experiential learning techniques in order to take the students out of the classroom and into nature to learn their lessons. Nature has a therapeutic element and because this has been known to help students with ADHD ADD, a lot of outdoor activities are usually included in the programs of ADD ADHD boarding schools.
- Therapy and counseling – Young people with ADD ADHD will experience a lot of challenges in their lives. Therapy will help them understand what ADD ADHD is, how they can help themselves, how to gain self-advocacy, and overall just help them get through these years as happy, well-adjusted children. It sets a good foundation that will be helpful for them when it’s time to go to college, and even after that.
ADD ADHD boarding schools are not what you would call an affordable option. However, the benefits that it will give children with ADD ADHD is immeasurable.
Of course, students with ADD ADHD who study in traditional public schools can still survive and become successful with the help of very supportive parents. However, the kind of advantage that they get from specialized schools is quite significant. It also minimizes the stress level at home and allows parents to focus on other aspects of parenting when their children are home from school.