educate the teacher about ADHD: top 10 articles to have them read

My biggest fear at the start of any school year is whether or not my ADHD child’s mainstream classroom teacher will understand him and his differences. As we round the corner to end the first semester, it is usually clear if this is the case or not. By this point, the teacher has had ample time to get to know Luke, and vice-versa. If there are still some problems, it’s my job to help the teacher understand his needs. After all, no one knows him like his momma.Around the ADHD communities, I am hearing that one of the most troubling concerns when it comes to your ADHD child’s experience in school is that the teacher just doesn’t understand ADHD — they are punishing for behaviors outside the student’s control, they are taking away recess as a consequence, they are penalizing when it takes them longer to finish their work or because they are disorganized, they are sending them home or suspending them when they have a meltdown.

Teaching students are now receiving some education on ADHD and other behavioral disorders. They are also learning differentiated instruction methods that can reach kids of all learning styles and disabilities. Unfortunately though, this is not a focus of a teacher certification program, and existing teachers aren’t required to keep their knowledge of different abilities current. And so, many of our ADHD/LD/SPD/ODD/OCD/PDD/FAS/etc., etc., etc. children are not getting the understanding and accommodations in school they require deserve.

We need to raise our teachers’ awareness about ADHD. Educating the teacher and school administration a bit more about ADHD will resolve many issues. In order to not underestimate someone’s intelligence and inadvertently offend, I approach it from the standpoint of how ADHD affects my child and what his specific needs are relating to ADHD, sensory processing, and his writing disability.

I have found that most teachers are open to learning more about how to help a child with differences find success in their classroom but just need to know how. Approach your ADHD child’s teacher about this with the “I want to help you” attitude and demeanor. Let them know you both have the same goal — to see your child/their student happy and successful at school. You really do catch more flies with honey.
Educate the Teacher
In a fabulous article on greatschools.org, Gina Robuck, M.Ed. describes how to educate teachers in a way that invites collaboration. One of her tips is to put together a collection of articles that best describes your child’s disability. You can then give teachers articles that pertain to a certain issue when the need arises.Here are my Top 10 choices for articles to send your child’s teacher. As Ms. Robuck said, choose articles that are specific to your child’s differences and needs. Don’t overwhelm the teacher or they aren’t likely to read it. Choose only the applicable section of an article or easy-to-read charts and tables and just send one or two at a time, when necessary. If your most troublesome battle right now is the teacher taking away recess as punishment, send them an article on why that’s one of the worst punishments for an ADHD child.

I recommend following up articles with a meeting to discuss how you can help them implement changes in their classroom that will help your child but not disrupt their classroom or add more work to their already gruesome workload.
  1. My #1 fav! Of all places in this great land, it comes from the city schools right here in my town. (Of course, my child is in the County school district.) A link to all their school OT documents and guides is here. However, my favorite is the “Classroom Strategies” series. These are charts for the teacher that say “if you see this…” then “try this” and gives them several interventions for all sorts of difficulties:
      1. Following Routines
      2. Organization and Personal Care
      3. Peer Interactions1
      4. Posture and Positioning
      5. Work Behaviors
      6. Writing
  2. Addressing Sensory Needs at School, SensorySmarts.com. Most of our ADHD kids also have sensory processing issues. This guide gives many accommodations easily implemented in the classroom that will make a child with sensory needs more comfortable.
  3. Helping Children with ADHD Succeed in School, Helpguide.org, a non-profit resource for understanding, preventing, and resolving challenges. This article contains several tips for parents and teachers alike.
  4. Checklists for Teachers: Getting Students’ Attention, LDOnline.com. A bulleted list from Sandra Rief of ways to keep an attention-challenged child engaged in the classroom.
  5. Examples of Accommodations from State Assessment Policies, LDOnline.com. A long list of potential classroom accommodations great for taking to an IEP or 504 Plan committee meeting (I used this to formulate the list of accommodations I requested for Luke’s 504 Plan initially.)
  6. Modifying Instruction for ADHD, TeacherVision. Simple strategies to make the mainstream classroom more conducive to the success of an ADHD student.
  7. Deep Pressure and Heavy Work Activities for Children, LiveStrong.com. 70+ activities kids can do throughout the school day to get sensory input and feel more grounded (which will make them feel more calm).
  8. Attention Deficit Disorder: Ritalin or Recess?, David Katz, M.D. Studies show physical activity helps children when they get back into the classroom (i.e., don’t use recess as punishment).
  9. National Association of Special Education Teachers: ADHD Series
  10. Differentiated Instruction, National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials. An overview of differentiated instruction, including how it makes learning accessible and some implementation strategies for the classroom.
Remember, don’t overwhelm your teachers, give them what is completely applicable to your child in the order of priority. Encourage your teachers to read “Lost at School,” by Dr. Ross Greene as well.
Do you have favorite articles that have made a difference in your child’s relationship with a teacher? Share links to them in the comments below.

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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504 plan, adhd and school, Penny Williams, special education (IEP) ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

2 Comments

  1. dmd says:

    I shared a CHADD document with Dylan's teacher on Executive Function. It was a magazine article from a few years ago. I felt his teacher really did not get ADHD and needed basic understanding.

    I also shared a wonderful blog post:
    http://adhdteacher.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/im-in-your-classroom-dont-forget-me/

    dee

    Reply
  2. Crystal says:

    Book: A Bird’s Eye View of life with ADD and ADHD Advice from young survivors by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy
    and Alex Zeigler

    Reply

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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