ADDitude asked: "How do you get teachers to work with your child, not against him?"
> Be as nice as possible and volunteer frequently for school activities. It is hard for the school not to help your child if you are the parent who is always helping the school. -Tara, Washington
> We have two teenagers with ADHD in high school, and we work best with teachers when we keep the communication lines open. We ask for their assistance in dealing with our children's needs, and we also let them know what we do at home to help our children. We ask for their suggestions to help us work together effectively. We acknowledge that our children's needs require extra time and effort from them, and we make sure to thank them. -An ADDitude Reader
> The teacher and I share information, which has made us closer. We use a behavior card that goes from home to school, and back, each day. I send the teacher teaching tips from websites that I think are helpful. -Mary, New York
> I think cooperating with the teacher, without expecting him or her to do the parents' job, is the most effective approach. Helping your child is a team effort. -Julia, Connecticut
> I compliment my child's teachers as often as I can. It keeps us and our child on their radar, and gives them a much-needed boost as well. -Leslie, Illinois
> I asked my child's teacher what works for her in the classroom, and I use the same strategies at home. -An ADDitude Reader
> I acknowledge the difficulties that teachers face in managing ever-larger classes, and I express appreciation for the efforts they make to understand and accommodate my child. -Doug, California
> Work to develop an understanding of your child with the teacher. My high school student is smart, and finishes his work ahead of the rest of the class. His teachers have him run errands to the office to burn off energy. If he finishes his lunch before everyone else, the coaches allow him to go to the gym and play basketball or lift weights. The exercise focuses his brain. -Amy, Virginia
> Because my son is bright and does well academically, some teachers forget how hard he works. Sometimes a quick reminder about the basics of an ADHD or Asperger's diagnosis helps the teacher re-focus and be more positive in working toward a solution. -An ADDitude Reader
> I call teachers by their first names. It breaks down the parent-teacher barrier and encourages open discussion and partnership. I also reward the teachers with thank-you's as often as possible. -Karen, North Carolina
> Telling the teacher about your child in the beginning of the year and/or meeting with the teacher to explain what has worked for your child helps. -Jim, California
> If the teacher feels that we are all on the same team, she is more likely to go the extra mile for my son. At our small Catholic school, we have dedicated and nurturing teachers who work with him daily. They know that he is trying. -Krista, Connecticut
> I e-mail teachers with positive feedback. Sometimes homing in on those teachers who accept your child, and encouraging them, gets better results than trying to change a teacher who may not understand ADHD. -An ADDitude Reader
> I bring a snack--usually a smoothie or cookies--to all teacher meetings. The teachers appreciate it, and it gets the meeting off to a good start. -Sarah, North Carolina
> I pass along helpful articles from ADDitude to the teachers. It shows that we are taking an active role in helping our daughter. -R., Alberta
This article appears in the Summer issue of ADDitude.
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