Getting ready for your child to return to school? Here are some ideas that could get the year off to a positive start.
Reread your child’s current Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or 504 Plan. What goals have been met? Which areas remain trouble spots?
- Schedule a meeting with your child’s support team at school. Bring anything that will illustrate your child’s abilities; educational assessments, report cards, notes from the teacher, tests, or homework assignments.
- Together, decide which goals you’ll focus on this year. Which strategies delivered positive results? Which ones didn’t?
- Talk to your child. Educate your child about his or her AD(H)D while accentuating the positive. Remember that with challenges AD(H)D also brings positive traits, such as creativity and enthusiasm.
- Talk to the teacher. Dr. Ned Hallowell says that building rapport with the teacher is key to a student’s success. Whether you write a letter or meet in person, explaining your child’s situation (such as AD(H)D medicine or accommodations) will enable the teacher to meet your child’s needs. Then, meet again a month later.
- Talk to the primary care provider. Whether to give your child medication is a decision fraught with important considerations. If your child is taking medication, or if you’re considering a trial period, talk to the prescribing doctor to make a plan just before school starts. This will give you the time to fine-tune the dose and timing. After a few weeks, have a second conversation with the doctor to compare notes.
If your child takes ADHD medication, here’s that you need to know about ensuring coverage at school:
- The medication authorization form: Ask the school for the form, which allows the school staff to administer meds. Have your child’s physician fill it out, if required by the school, providing information on the diagnosis, medication, time and dosage.
- The prescription: Your doctor will need to write prescriptions for both home and school. Have the pharmacist label a separate bottle with specifications for school use.
- The follow-up: Return the form, with the medication, to the school. Talk with the person who will be administering the medications and to your child’s teacher about their responsibilities, asking them to alert you if they notice side effects or if your child misses a dose, for example.
- Be explicit about expectations of proper behavior. Post guidelines for respecting each person's space, words, and ideas, with signs in the classroom or at home. Use specific and positive terms to praise your child: “I liked the way you shared your toys with Tina” says more than “You were good at recess.”
- Invent games that foster empathy. Role-play difficult social interactions, such as disagreeing with a friend. Then swap roles to let your child experience the other point of view. If your child has trouble reading social cues, use magazines or TV characters to identify body language and facial expressions.
- Keep in mind your child’s social maturity. Even if he’s academically OK, think of him as being socially younger than his classmates. A good rule of thumb is to subtract 30% of your child’s age to approximate his or her emotional age. At home, let your child play with younger kids to develop leadership skills.
- Begin to get your child to bed early. Children need sleep; at least 8 hours a day. Begin at least a week before school starts to get a bedtime established.
The above information was obtained from ADDitude Magazine, 2007. The URL link to this site is: www.ADDitudemag.com.