Getting Your ADHD Child to the Aha! Moment: Effective School and Homework Strategies

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Does My Child Have ADHD? A Parent's Guide to Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

It can also be helpful for parents and kids to have open conversations about symptoms and ways to deal with the condition. Both of my children have now been diagnosed with ADHD, and we often talk about what it means.

We discuss our challenges and successes. For example, all three of us struggle to focus. It makes sense — some children with ADHD can focus better when their hands are busy. In first grade, his teacher moved him to another table and gave him a small task to complete if he was distracted with his work.

This provided her son, now 10 years old, with a sense of completion. He could then return to the task at hand.

These self-management skills are easy for many. A person with strong executive functioning can properly organize and plan, remain focused on a task, manage their frustration, and self-regulate. Often, I cannot properly plan unless I create a step-by-step list, either in my head or on paper, and then I hesitate to get started.

For years, I criticized myself for being disorganized and overwhelmed, knowing that most adults are able to manage these parts of life. Learning that I struggle with executive functioning because of ADHD has actually boosted my confidence. Barkley agreed, explaining that there are several things we must do in order to best function as adults with ADHD :.

No Hits, No Runs, Many Errors…The ADHD Slump in Adulthood (Part I)

She now works fewer hours than before, getting as much — if not more — done during the day. Now I work less — a lot less. My daughter completed a dialectical behavior therapy DBT program that taught her numerous skills and strategies. I believe this will alleviate a lot of the challenges I felt before my diagnosis and allow them to get a head start on coping.

Have a conversation about homework schedules, turn-in policies, and how you as a parent can help make it a positive experience. This space should have enough room for all the books and materials they need. There should be plenty of light and a comfortable chair. Your child workspace should also include items that help them concentrate and feel comfortable based on their specific personality. For instance, a student with autism may be able to focus more if they have access to a stress ball, fidget spinner, or some other small items to channel energy.

They tried various strategies to help him organize his time and apply himself; seemingly to no avail. Sadly, Johnny became frustrated as well, and began to lose confidence in himself. When asked to do his homework or a chore, Johnny often responded with anger and rebellion, and resisted his parents' efforts to help him. On the positive side, Johnny continued to enjoy physical activity, but did not excel at team sports. Although physically capable, Johnny's mental processing speed was not quick enough to keep up with fast-paced games such as basketball.

Make Sure Students Feel Safe

These sports required an in-the-moment, intense focus that Johnny could not sustain. Instead, he excelled at individual sports without the distraction of other players. While individual sports like track and swimming include other teammates, they do not require the same intense focus, rapid pace, and constantly shifting variables that are common to team sports. As he grew older, Johnny continued to prefer physical activity to academic work.

How to Reward Your Child

He also maintained an interest in creative pursuits. During these quiet activities, he could sustain his focus for an extended period of time. However, this ability did not generalize to activities that were uninteresting to him. Unfortunately, this lack of interest included much of his school work.


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Although Johnny was bright, his grades varied widely among different subjects. He did well in classes that interested him, but poorly in all the rest. Johnny did try to get his work done. The trouble was he just could not seem to get started.


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He would go into his room to do his homework, but 45 minutes later he hadn't even started. Moreover, when he did manage to start working, he could not sustain his effort because he became easily bored and distracted. Eventually, Johnny graduated from high school and went to a college close to home. He lived with his parents during the first year. Then, during his second year, he moved into a house he shared with other boys. His college success was limited.

He performed reasonably well during his first year passing with a couple of C's each semester ; but, his grades took a nose dive the second year. Socially, he struggled as well. Johnny was outgoing and met new people easily. However, the friendships often faded quickly as the other students became disappointed with his lateness, distractibility, and frequently inconsiderate behavior.

Johnny did manage to form some lasting friendships with his roommates. These young men were fun-loving and friendly, but they were also more interested in partying than grades. To keep up with these friends, Johnny began drinking and experimenting with drugs. He had several automobile accidents, and was even hospitalized once for a couple of days with a head injury. These events had a disastrous effect on his grades and Johnny dropped out of college at the end of his second year. After Johnny dropped out of college, he got a job at a local art store. Initially he enjoyed his work and did well.

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