ADHD and the New School Year

A new school year is upon us, and there are several steps to take to prepare your child who struggles with ADHD. The following is a list of things to think about before that first day.

Is the Testing Report Up to Date?

If it has been several years since your child’s diagnosis of ADHD you should consider having another evaluation done. As a child’s brain develops, he or she may adopt coping strategies to help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD. The original diagnosis, if several years old, may no longer be valid. If your child’s last evaluation was more than 5 year ago, contact your pediatrician, family physician, or person who conducted the original evaluation to have it up-dated.

Have you Contacted the School?

The resources schools provide for students vary widely. Some schools are extremely helpful in offering academic accommodations while other schools simply do not have the necessary space and personnel. Contact the appropriate person who handles accommodations at your school, usually a counselor, to determine what services are offered.

Does Your Child have an IEP?

If your child attends a public school and uses accommodations, he or she will likely need an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. This plan, which is created by the parent, student, and school personnel, outlines a student’s needs, rights, and responsibilities for the entire school year. A thorough IEP is essential for a student with ADHD to succeed.

Is Your Child Taking Medication?

Students who are taking medication to help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD should speak with their physician before the school year starts. Evaluating the different types of medication, their dosages, and your child’s reaction to them is very important before the school year begins. It can sometimes take a “trial and error” process to identify the most effective medication and dosage.

What Additional Academic Support Does Your Child Need?

Whether your child is taking medication or not, the symptoms of ADHD can also be alleviated through effective study skills. Knowing “how” to study, “when” to study, and “what” to study are all important components of successful study habits. If your child struggles with one of more of these, he or she may need outside tutoring, mentoring, or academic coaching. Developing successful study skills can be a long-term solution to ADHD.