How to Pick an Academic Program for Your Child

7 questions to consider when picking a summer academic program for your child.


Filed Under: Camp for ADHD Kids, Summer for ADHD Kids, ADHD Accommodations, 504s, IEPs
ADHD children may need parental help or assistance in staying focused and completing their homework assignments on time.

Does your child need more academic or behavioral support than a summer camp can offer? If so, you may want to consider a summer academic program. Many of the top ADHD/LD private schools offer such programs. Who knows—you might even want to enroll your child in one of the schools on a year-round basis.

How do you figure out which school is best for your child? Start by searching the ADDitude Directory listings or LDOnline Yellow Pages. Once you’ve found a few promising ones, contact the administrator of each school and pose the following questions.

1. How large is a typical class?
Kids with ADHD or LD benefit from individualized instruction. Fifteen or fewer students is probably ideal, although larger classes may be OK if more than one teacher is present.

2. What training do your teachers have?
It’s unlikely that all of the teachers will hold a degree in special education. If there are such teachers at a school you’re applying to, request one of them for your child. You’ll want a teacher with experience teaching at least a few ADHD or LD students in her classes each year.

3. How often do you report on students’ progress?
Look for a school where teachers provide feedback on a weekly basis, rather than at the end of a semester. Even better, ask whether teachers would be willing to fill out a daily report card for your child.

4. How much homework do students receive each night?
The aim of homework should be to let a child practice what he learned in class—a review of material already covered. An hour or less of homework in elementary school, and two hours or less in middle school, should be enough time to accomplish this.

5. What accommodations do you offer students with learning differences?
The accommodations your child receives should be tailored to his needs, but you’ll want a school that’s at least familiar with the most common ones, such as extra time on tests, preferential seating, and the use of assistive technologies, like tape recorders and audiobooks.

6. How much physical education and recess do you offer?
Children are better able to sit still and focus after they’ve had a chance to work off a little energy. At least one hour of physical activity each day, whether at P.E. class or recess, is ideal.

7. What role are parents expected to play?
You are the expert on your child. Schools that recognize that, and welcome parental involvement, generally provide the most supportive environments for ADHD and LD kids.

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