As the relaxing days of summer slowly come to an end, parents of children with ADHD or ADD may feel some trepidation at the impending start of the new school year. Although kids with ADHD and ADD may experience some difficulty adjusting to a new schedule as well as new demands, you can prepare in advance to make the transition manageable and easier for the entire family.
Organization is Key
From planning school outfits and gathering school supplies, start a checklist of to-do items a few days before the start of school. Have a central location where backpacks and other items can be located with ease. Nothing can disrupt a child’s day then frantically looking for books and homework assignments while you are bustling out the door in the morning.
- A great way to ensure nothing is missed is to create a daily planner.
- Encourage and allow your child to create their own list of items they need for the coming school year as well as an action plan on how they can keep organized and on track.
- Create a study space with storage bins for school supplies and is free from distractions such as a television or play areas.
If you child slept in during summer vacation, begin by easing them into the new time schedule a week or two before the start of school. Begin by waking them up a little earlier each day and ensure they have a fixed bed time schedule to allow for decompression and down time.
Plan a day to day schedule
Create a large interactive calendar that includes all of your child’s activities, including after school sports, dance classes and regular play dates. This calendar should be routinely reevaluated as new challenges arise and activity tastes change.
Display the daily routine
Use the refrigerator as the go to place to post the daily routine. Bullet point all tasks that need to be completed before they are off to school:
- Get dressed
- Make Bed
- Feed Pets
- Eat Breakfast
Communicate with faculty
Meet with your child’s teacher and any support personal that school supplies. Inform them of items that have helped your child succeed in the past and discuss any details that have been challenges for your child.
- Ensure you have access to your child’s school and class schedule. Most schools have all these items on a portal or website for easy access.
- Discuss varied teaching methods that will keep your child engaged and interested. Kyle China of Behavior Analysis Technique at Writing Service Inc states: “This is especially important because I’ve often found that for children with ADHD, the motivation to participate in academic tasks, especially difficult tasks, is directly related to the method of instruction specially difficult tasks, is directly related to the method of instruction, which should also be spelled out clearly in the behavior plan and usually isn’t.”
- Keep an open dialogue with the school on any changes in your home life that may affect behavior at school.
Review Assessment Documentation
If you already have a 504 plan in place or an individualized program (IEP) it’s a great time to review these documents and have a professional reassess the plans. The plans already in place may no longer meet the needs of the child.
- A 504 plan guarantees that children with special needs receive accommodations in the classroom. These accommodations are specific to each child’s needs.
- An IEP encompasses more than the 504 plan and is more complex. It may mean your child will not be in a standard classroom.
According to Kyle China (BCBA) of “As the beginning of the school year approaches, it is a good idea for parents of children with ADHD to thoroughly review their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), especially the behavior plan, because many of the behavior plans for students with ADHD I come across have one or more critical issues in quality, leading to, at the least, bad communication with parents, and at worst an ineffectual program for the student.”
Advanced targeted planning and practice in addition to your family schedule at home, will allow you both to get acquainted to the changes to come and will help your child achieve confidence and success, not only on the first day of school but all year round.