Do the words “Back to school” lead towards feelings of anxiety and dread while other students appear happy and excited? For students with ADHD, it means it’s time to be measured, graded, and/or accounted for. Students in elementary, middle, and high school, along with those in college, will be hoping to do their best while remembering that all of their hard work rarely leads to positive outcomes. Students with ADHD will prepare to be labeled as lazy, careless, disorganized, disrespectful, and chaotic. Parents, teachers, and other authority figures will feel frustrated and mystified by and even hopeless about the neurological developmental differences that keep students with ADHD from learning in all the traditional ways.
Students living with ADHD, experience a kind of built-in frustration much of the time. Often their thoughts are racing faster than their bodies can keep up. Many students with ADHD are of average to above average intelligence. They often understand the content presented in the classroom but struggle to demonstrate that understanding in school. Their input doesn’t always match their output. Students with ADHD can begin to feel incapable and defeated, and can even go so far as to simply give up on the task at hand leading to an avalanche of failure.
How can we stop the storm? By providing a solid foundation of support that helps students, of all ages and stages, to understand that having ADHD is not their fault and that they can learn ways to improve the problems it causes. We can do this by encouraging students in building self-awareness and developing an understanding of how their brains work. We can also learn to advocate for and teach them how to ask for the accommodations they need, to lessen the impact of ADHD on their learning. Most importantly, we can provide a soft place to land when there is a bump in their road while also lighting the fire to help them stand back up and try again, ensuring a more successful school year.
If you would like to increase your understanding of ADHD while learning strategies of support for all grades, we have planned the following workshops:
- Navigating ADHD in the elementary and middle school years.
- Creating routines and structure.
- Modeling and teaching self-regulation and problem-solving.
- Working with teachers and schools to ensure assistance and accommodations happen.
- Exploring ADHD in the high school years.
- Understanding a whole new set of problems: peer pressure to driving cars and new freedoms and part-time jobs, the high school introduces various pressures and opportunities.
- Creating and maintaining boundaries that reinforce safety, success, and self-regulation.
- Ensuring academic accommodations are provided as needed.
- Launching the young adults with ADHD
- Understanding the “perfect storm” of increased interpersonal and cognitive demands alongside decreased parental involvement and support, all with lingering executive functioning challenges.
- Making clear expectations both at home and on their own while also respecting their need to feel empowered to make their own choices.
- Teaching them to ask for academic accommodations.
- Increasing opportunities to be completely independent successfully.