Getting The Right Kind of Help For Your Child – And You!

Parenting is simultaneously the hardest and most rewarding job a person can have. There are extra challenges when you have a child with ADHD, especially if your child is struggling in school, the main job of childhood. It’s heartbreaking to watch your child have difficulty with learning and homework, and particularly frustrating when you don’t know where to turn for help.

In order to set your children up for success, you need to match the assistance you seek with the specific difficulties your child is having. As there is a lot of help out there, parents need to know where to look and what to ask for.

Determine What Is Getting in the Way

Although it’s easy to see the poor grades, the reluctance to go to school, or your child’s acting out, it’s important to identify the possible reasons for the behavior.

Is your child doing poorly on tests? Are there gaps in his/her knowledge or skills, making school more difficult than it should be? Is s/he taking way too long to complete homework assignments, or not turning them in at all?

Trust yourself and your perception of what is getting in the way. You know your child best and have seen what has occurred over the years with different programs and teachers.

Work With School Personnel

If your child is having general learning or behavioral difficulty in school, you might work with school personnel to make sure that your child’s program and services are meeting his/her unique needs. This may entail such things as:

  • meeting with the teacher to discuss your concerns,
  • requesting a meeting with the school team to discuss interventions that have been tried and/or those that might be put into place,
  • pursuing testing to see if your child qualifies for specific programs, accommodations, modifications or services, or
  • requesting a review meeting with the IEP or Section 504 team as soon as problems are noted rather than waiting until the annual meeting.

It’s vitally important that the six hours or so that your child is in school are adequately addressing your child’s learning needs so that s/he can succeed.

Study Buddy for Homework Completion

Sometimes a child knows the material, but can’t sit down to complete the work without close supervision. If homework time is an undue struggle, perhaps a high school/college student looking for extra income might be all that is required for your child to begin – and finish! – required homework.

Tutoring for Specific Subjects

After a grueling day at school, it’s not uncommon for children to have difficulty working with their parents on homework or studying. If your child needs help with a particular academic area, a tutor can preview the material or re-teach what wasn’t understood so that your child can better understand the subject matter and improve grades.

Individualized Instruction with an Educational Therapist

Sometimes a tutor just isn’t enough, especially when there are learning difficulties due to ADHD and/or learning disabilities. An educational therapist can provide individualized instruction in keeping with your child’s unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Educational therapists work on specific academic subjects while addressing underlying weaknesses in areas such as visual or auditory processing, memory, and study or test taking skills. They help students develop appropriate learning strategies and gain more confidence in their abilities.

ADHD Coaching to Get and Stay On Track

As students with ADHD get older, it’s often difficult for them to deal with increasing life demands and higher expectations for independence. A coach specifically trained in ADHD can help your child manage his/her life and responsibilities in and out of school.

Coaches provide support, structure and accountability as students work to develop skills and strategies to plan, organize, manage time, begin tasks, sustain focus, and work toward completion. They help students get and stay on track by developing goals, designing actions and monitoring progress to support desired growth.

Support For Parents

It’s often a challenge to balance the desire to give your children help for today’s success while encouraging the development of strategies for tomorrow’s independence. Parents can often benefit from coaching and consulting designed to provide support and information that will benefit not only your child – but you, as well!

Note: a version of this blog post appeared on www.ImpactADHD.com, where Roxanne was featured as a Guest Expert in August, 2012.

Succeeding in College

Here’s another tip from Roxanne Fouché appearing in the book, 365 Ways to Succeed with ADHD: A Full Year of Valuable Tips & Strategies from the World’s Best ADHD Coaches & Experts!!!

Available from Amazon.com

College can be particularly challenging for students with ADHD because academic expectations increase while there is a decrease in external structure. Students may have difficulty prioritizing competing demands on their time as there are varying class times and new daily routines. Even if it wasn’t necessary in high school, many college students find it extremely useful to use paper or digital planners to map out their days, scheduling the actual times that they plan to accomplish their goals: going to class or work, studying, eating, sleeping, laundry and other errands, exercise and/or social activities.

Accommodations for Students with ADHD

Students with ADHD may qualify for a Section 504 Accommodation Plan if their symptoms substantially limit one or more major life activities (including learning). The accommodations that are provided are intended to level the playing field to ensure “meaningful equal opportunity” at school. The accommodation plan should include a description of the student’s challenges and how ADHD is impacting the student’s learning and behavior. Accommodations are written to address identified areas of difficulty.

Helpful accommodations for students with ADHD may include:

  • Preferential seating (seating student close to the teacher)
  • Assistance with note taking/assigned note taker
  • Copy of the teacher’s Power Points, notes, or outlines
  • Pairing written and oral instructions
  • Teacher’s checking for understanding
  • Private signal to redirect student’s attention
  • Checking that assignments have been correctly written down
  • Verification that all needed items are placed in the student’s backpack at the end of the day
  • Alternate or modified assignments (e.g., Power Point presentation instead of a written report, ½ of the math problems of a certain type, etc.)
  • Breaking down longer-term assignments and giving intermediate deadlines
  • Acceptance of homework emailed directly to the teacher
  • Reminders for turning in homework
  • Credit for late work
  • Cues for transitions to different activities
  • Allowing movement breaks and use of a “fidget” to increase focus
  • Advance copy of study guides
  • Permission to audio record review sessions
  • Taking quizzes and exams in a reduced distraction environment
  • Use of computer for written tests and/or calculators, as appropriate
  • Extended time for tests and/or homework assignments
  • Oral testing and/or the teacher’s going over the written test with the student, asking questions for clarification of the student’s answers
  • 2nd set of books at home
  • Alternate formats for reading (books on CDs, etc.)

If your child’s 504 plan is not meeting their needs or you want to explore whether your child might benefit from such accommodations, contact the school’s 504 coordinator. You are your child’s first advocate. Remember that you are modeling the skills that your child needs to develop so they can advocate for themselves in the future.

Contact us if we can be of assistance in setting your child your child up for school success.

College and ADHD

Academically, college can be a challenge for any student – but especially for one with ADHD, learning disabilities or related issues. Academic expectations increase in college at a time when there is a decrease in external structure from parents and school. There is often limited feedback on class progress, as tests occur infrequently, and daily homework is rarely assigned to ensure that students are keeping up with their reading or other assignments. Students often have difficulty independently forming daily routines (waking up, going to bed, eating, studying, exercising, taking medication, doing laundry, and other chores), especially because their class schedules typically change from day to day. In addition, students may have difficulty prioritizing competing social and academic demands while enjoying the newfound freedom to make their own decisions.

There are several ways to set students up for success at college. Students with ADHD may be eligible for accommodations in college, whether or not they had a 504 plan or special education services in high school. Such accommodations might include testing in a separate and quiet environment, extra time for exams, note taking assistance, and/or priority registration among other accommodations. Students and their parents should contact the disabilities office at the college to find out the department’s procedures for beginning this process.

Another very helpful option is coaching for college students so they might discover personalized tools and strategies that allow them to successfully set goals, manage time, begin (and complete!) tasks, maintain focus, organize and prioritize, as well as balance life’s demands.

Call us today for a complimentary consultation to see how coaching might help you or teen succeed in the college environment.

Getting Things Done

One common frustration of people with ADD/ADHD is not being able to accomplish the things that need to get done. Sometimes we know what we need to do and just can’t seem to “make ourselves” do it. Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed with the sheer number, or the complexity, of the things that need to be done that we just don’t know where to begin. Sometimes we know the things we need to do, and are determined to accomplish them, but distractions get in the way of our best intentions.

In order to get things done, the first step is figuring out the stumbling blocks. Once we know what’s getting in the way, it’s easier to know how to move forward. In getting through the tedious or boring tasks, we can keep ourselves on track by working in small increments with breaks, as needed, until we finish the task and can reward ourselves. In getting past the overwhelm of complex tasks, we can break down the tasks into do-able steps, giving ourselves intermediate due dates for accomplishing them. If distractions are an issue, we can set up our working environment to minimize distractions, by listening to soft music with earphones, or turning off email notification on our computers, for example.

Of course, everyone is different and what works for one person may or may not work for another. (And it’s often the case that what works one day may not work the next.) Pay attention to what’s getting in the way and experiment with ways to use your strengths while working around your challenges.

Call us for a complimentary consultation to explore how coaching might help you work smarter and accomplish more.

Middle and High School Students – Why a Coach?

During the middle and high school years, workloads increase while teachers and parents typically expect the students to take on more responsibility for their homework and outside activities. The combination of increasing environmental demands and higher expectations for independence is particularly difficult for students with ADHD. This is where a coach specifically trained in ADHD can help.

Focus on the Whole Person

Academic issues are often the focus of ADHD coaching for students, with the main concerns often being how to get and stay on track with schoolwork, be better organized, and maintain motivation. However, coaching is most powerful when it focuses on the whole person and the ways the student’s individual ADHD characteristics impact different aspects of daily life, inside and outside of school.

Empowerment

Teens often feel empowered by coaching because they are “in the driver’s seat,” choosing what life skills to explore with their coach and designing action steps toward their goals. Coaching has, at its core, a unique relationship between student and coach, which provides nonjudgmental and supportive structure, allowing students to build skills for desired growth and independence.

Working with Strengths

Coaching helps students to appreciate the gifts of ADHD and the ways their unique brains function best. With awareness of the way they learn and what may be getting in the way, coaching helps students learn personalized strategies, tools and new habits that are tailored to work with their strengths, and work around areas that do not come as easily.

Setting Students Up For Success

ADHD coaching provides support, structure and accountability as students learn to set goals, manage time, begin tasks and work toward completion, organize and prioritize, sustain focus, maintain life balance and develop self-advocacy skills. Working with an ADHD coach allows students to discover strengths, build self-esteem, and increase self-awareness, creating the opportunity for life-long success.

Call us for a complimentary phone consultation to explore how coaching might help your teen.