For the child with ADHD, a management plan which may include doctors, therapists, and teachers, Is critical to setting up a student for success. ADHD can represent a combination of symptoms, so I will focus on some general school-specific strategies to help your ADHD student.
- In-person learning, sit near the front of the class to avoid distractions.
- Roleplay challenging situations that may come up in high school. Covid will change in-person learning at all grade levels. Please find out how the school will be different and prepare them for that.
- Discuss with the teacher extra time may be required to finish assignments and tests.
- Homework/assignment checklists with due dates will keep your student organized.
- When studying, build in rest and activity breaks which can reduce stress and help with mental clarity.
- Unpack backpacks after school and review if any homework or forms need to be signed.
- For many individuals with ADHD, the concept of ‘out of sight is out of mind’ is essential to keep in mind, so store supplies in clear bins to stay visible and contained.
- Daily routines and habits for bedtime (8-10 hrs of sleep), chores and homework.
- Turn off electronics 1 hour before bed.
Parenting can be challenging and even more so if a parent has ADHD. A parent with ADHD can understand better than anyone specific challenges and empathize with their ADHD child. A few suggestions for the home that may help the ADHD parent.
- Post a family schedule as a visual reminder where everyone will see it, perhaps colour code it by each family member.
- Do a brain dump before bed and make your to-do list for the next day. Try not to have more than five things on your daily list, and make sure they are the ‘must do’s. You may find that you need help with prioritizing and or help with timelines; a professional organizer/ADHD coach can help build those skills.
- Pack your bag and put as much as you can near the front door so you don’t forget anything during the morning rush.
- Wake up a little earlier than everyone to review your to-do list.
- Try not to multitask. One task at a time, and if you get distracted by another task, write it on your to-do list and try and go back and finish the first task.
- Set alarms on your phone as reminders to complete a task or keep an appointment. You can also use alarm notifications to block off time when allocating a specific amount of time to complete a task.
- Hire a tutor or support person for homework help for your student a few times a week to take the pressure off of you.
- Build in some downtime for you. The same rules apply to you, lots of sleep, and if you can fit in some physical activity, try to build your routine around this.
As always, please review any ADHD management plans first with your health professional team as they will have a more fulsome picture of your family’s health and needs.