How to Help a Child With ADHD Succeed in School

How to Help a Child With ADHD Succeed in School

When it comes to children with ADHD, school can be a struggle. It’s hard for them to focus and learn but there are ways that you can help them if you’re a teacher.

One of the best things is being compassionate but that’s not the end of what you can do. It’s all about morphing your classroom into a place that can stimulate their learning and allow them to thrive. If you’re not sure how to do this, then just talk to the child in question.

In this article, we’re going to go over more on how to help a child with ADHD so you can ensure that none of your students are left behind.

1. Create a Reward and Consequences System

You should work closely with a child’s parent to develop a reward and consequences system for the child. Children with ADHD often have problems with thinking about future rewards vs. consequences so the best way to go about this is a goal chart.

It can be a notebook with the child’s goals for the day with multiple checkpoints like get up and start another task within a few minutes of being told. When they’ve met a certain amount of goals for the week, they can have a reward. It gives them something to focus on and look forward to.

2. Focus on Planning and Organization

A lot of children with ADHD have problems with basic organization which can cause them to not judge the time they have left to work on a project very well. This can lead to them to not turning in assignments on time. If this is an issue it’s time to work with the parents to come up with a system.

Come up with certain expectations and make those expectations known. Put their assignments on a system that will promote organization. It’s very important that this system is implemented at home and at school or else it won’t stick.

3. Reduce the Amount of Homework

Speaking of assignments, homework is a huge struggle for children with ADHD. If you pile it on during the week, you’re setting them up for failure because there is a good chance they won’t be able to get it all done.

It’s known that a normal child should spend 10 minutes on homework a night depending on their grade level. For example, if the child is in second grade, then they spend 20 minutes on homework each night. You can’t hold a child with ADHD to these same standards.

Instead, offer these children alternative assignments that play more to the child’s strengths. So, instead of making them do an oral presentation or a paper allow them to do something more creative or won’t take as much time like a poster or shoebox display.

4. Have Realistic Expectations of the Child

Again, you can’t hold a child with ADHD to the same standards you would hold children without. The more stressed these children feel towards their academic lives, the worst they’re going to perform.

While it’s ideal for every child to make straight As and Bs it’s going to be a struggle for these children to do that without your help. It’s possible though, but it’s going to take work. You have to have reasonable expectations for them instead of trying to mold them into what the other children in your classroom are.

5. Limit Distractions

As you probably know children with ADHD are very easily distracted. To help the child succeed, you’ll need to limit distractions in the classroom. The best way to do it is to allow the child to wear things to cancel out the noise like headphones during tests.

You can allow the child to face a blank wall while they take tests, but make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being punished.

6. Use Novelty to Engage Curiosity

If you notice the child’s attention dropping, do something bazar and out there to help them realign their focus. This could include doing a funny dance or putting googly eyes on the back of your head and walking backward.

You can create a comfy place in your classroom that can allow the child to grab hold of their focus like beanbag chairs. Anything to break up the monotony.

7. Plan Transitions in Advance

Children with ADHD have problems adjusting to sudden change. This is why it’s important that you don’t just spring sudden transitions on them. Partner up with the child to plan these transitions in advance.

This advanced planning will make the child more comfortable and allow them to make adjustments a lot easier.

8. Simplify Instructions

It’s a good idea to simplify your instructions for children with ADHD. Give them their assignment instructions in convenient steps rather than throwing all of it on them at once.

You can also give the assignments to them in fun and creative ways like through dance or charts.

How to Help a Child with ADHD Succeed

A child with ADHD to succeeding all starts with a good teacher who can pave the way. You have to adjust your curriculum to get the information to them in fun and creative ways and allow them to do their tests in a way in which will minimalize distractions. Keep in mind that you can’t expect them to do their homework in the same way a child without ADHD would.

Use these steps on how to help a child with ADHD to give someone deserving a bright future.

Every once in a while children with ADHD have issues in other areas of learning which cause them to need speech therapy. If this sounds like something one of your children need, go here for a free consultation.

How You Can Improve Executive Functioning Skills in Kids with ADHD

How You Can Improve Executive Functioning Skills in Kids with ADHD

Children with ADHD struggle with their impulse control. They can often be disorganized and struggle with following any tasks that are made up of many steps. This can translate into problems at school, affect friendships and harm their career prospects in the longer term.

The technical term for the skills they are lacking is executive functioning skills; sometimes just called executive function or executive skills. These skills are important for a successful and independent life. So how can we help our children master these?

What Are Executive Functioning Skills?

Executive Functioning Skills are related to self-regulation. These are the skills that help with planning, focus, recollecting the steps in a complicated process, and coping with having multiple things to do at the same time.

These skills are vital to organizing yourself, which becomes more important as children get older and are expected to manage more of their lives. Poor executive skills lead to forgotten or late homework, getting lost in school, and forgetting social engagements. If you think your child might have an executive functioning problem, more signs of the disorder are outlined in this article.

The good news is that improving executive function is possible. With a combination of executive functioning interventions, to make life easier, and executive functioning skills training, you can help your child to do more for themselves.

How to Improve Executive Function

Teaching executive functioning skills is something that can be done at any age and can continue through until adulthood. While these skills may not come naturally to a child with ADHD or some other learning disorders, they can be acquired and coping strategies can be adopted to help set your child up for success.

These exercises work to improve performance in three areas that are important for executive function; working memory, impulse control, and cognitive flexibility. Working memory helps with retaining the different steps needed to complete a task. Impulse control is what stops a child doing something they know they shouldn’t. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to change mental gears quickly.

Games for Toddlers

Pat-a-cake and other songs and rhymes help babies to develop their working memory. As the songs are repeated, so they learn what to expect. Songs with a surprise ending, such as ‘Round and round the garden,’ which ends with a tickle are particularly well received.

Copying games help with impulse control. If you can come up with a game, for example, taking turns to put toy animals into a zoo scene helps them to master self-control.

Younger Children

Usually, it is when children get to school that challenges with executive function are noticed. But this is also a great time to begin interventions. For example, storytelling can be a powerful tool in helping children to improve their working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Telling a story, or recalling what happened in their day so far, means that they need to get events in order and tell them in a logical fashion. If you tell a story together, taking it in turns to decide what comes next, you are working on both impulse control too.

To help with focus, play a version of musical statues where the pose of the statue is agreed ahead of time. Get the children dancing to fast music, then when it stops they have to concentrate in order to stop and get into the same pose as the statue very quickly.

Older Children

Board games and card games are helpful as children get older. Taking turns helps to improve impulse control, and the need to remember the rules; for example, what happens when you land on a snake or a ladder and apply them correctly challenges their working memory.

Sport and other physical activity can be useful too. Not only does it burn off some energy, but it also gives your child the opportunity to work together. That helps them with working memory and cognitive flexibility. Perhaps more importantly, it can improve social relationships and self-confidence, too. If your child isn’t sporty, don’t worry. The same is true of learning to play an instrument or singing in a choir.

At this age, some children begin using a smartphone or tablet computer more often. There are many apps available which can help to work on executive function.

Teenagers

As children grow up to become teenagers, it’s important to start supporting them to develop their own skills rather than trying to do things for them. When they go to college or get a job, you won’t be able to support them in the same way that you have done through their time in school.

Learning organizational skills can be done by working on a practical project. Choose something your child would like to achieve, whether that is college applications or a party for their birthday. Work with them on the plans, but try and let them take the lead. Only nudge when you really need to make sure that things happen.

Older children can be encouraged to ‘self-talk’ when they are struggling with impulse control. In a way, they act as their own parent. When faced with temptation, they mentally explain to themselves why following that impulse is a bad idea. Explaining this process and encouraging your child to find their own way to implement it can be very powerful.

Sport, music and other group activities remain important for this age group. The teen years can be very confusing and isolating, so helping your child to find their clan whether that’s the football team, the cinema club or something else entirely is really useful.

How We Can Help

Speech and Language disorders often go hand in hand with ADHD, and speech therapy can be a valuable part of the process in dealing with this. But if the thought of packing more appointments into your week gives you a headache, you’ll be glad to know that online speech therapy is just as effective as face to face work.

If you have any questions about how we can help you and your child, with executive functioning skills or anything else, please get in touch today.

ADHD teens

Sometimes Skills are as Effective as Pills

Is your son’s desk a disaster?

Has your daughter’s teacher mentioned she has trouble focusing in class?

You may have seen subtle signs in your child suggesting ADD or ADHD. Sometimes I think our culture of multi-tasking and the constant barrage of text messages is a factor in our inability to concentrate. But while you are checking out the right professional to help you explore the origins and scope of the behavior in question, there are skills you can reinforce at home which can improve behavior and concentration. While medication ultimately may be required, pills are only effective when taken. Skills on the other hand, last a lifetime.

Here are some of my favorite organizational skills:

  • Create a designated quiet and organized environment for schoolwork. Have supplies available and keep distractions to a minimum.
  • Introduce the process of time management. Discuss together when projects are due and create a timeline to keep your child on track.
  • Use a timer and have your child work in blocks of time, with built-in breaks designated at the end of each block. The amount of block time will vary with each child as will the type of activity you can encourage each child to do during their break. Some kids need a physical activity while others may need to respond to texts or emails.
  • Demonstrate helpful organization skills like writing assignments in a designated agenda or pad and crossing off (or highlighting) assignments that are completed. The satisfaction of seeing a page of highlighted tasks can be a reward in itself.
  • Reward organizational efforts! Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement.Even simple praise can be effective.

What Gr8 organizational skills have you found helpful? Let’s share and learn from each other!