Most experts agree that children with attention deficit disorder should be on ADHD medication whenever hyperactivity, distractibility, and/or impulsivity interfere with success at school, home, and in social interactions. If your child takes medication to control his ADHD symptoms, make sure it's administered on a schedule that works best for him.
If your child requires a mid-day dose to keep ADHD symptoms at bay during afternoon classes and homework time, use this step-by-step guide to set up an in-school ADHD treatment plan that will ensure your child receives the best treatment possible.
Step 1: Assess Your Child's Needs
-- Determine a medication schedule that works. Is your child's behavior consistent throughout the school day? How about her focus? Some children with ADHD do best with a short-acting tablet in the morning and another in the afternoon, ensuring they'll have an appetite for lunch. For children on this treatment schedule, a midday trip to the nurse's office at school is imperative.
Other children can take a morning dose that covers the entire school day. Most stimulant medications are available in a long-acting form that lasts for eight to 12 hours. However, keep in mind that, for some children, eight-hour tablets or capsules work for 10 hours — or six hours. The 12-hour forms may last anywhere from 10-14 hours.
-- Make sure your child's symptoms are covered whenever necessary. Consider the possibility that your ADHD child may need coverage beyond school hours — so that he can complete homework assignments and enjoy after-school activities and social relationships.
-- Ask the teacher to be your eyes and ears in the classroom. Along with your child's teacher, observe when the medication wears off and base the timing of each dose on both of your observations. For example, your child might take an eight-hour capsule at 7:30 A.M., expecting it to last at least until 3:30 P.M. But the teacher notes that by 2 P.M. he is restless. So the next dose may be needed at 2 P.M.
To discuss managing ADHD meds at school with other parents, visit the ADHD at School support group on ADDConnect.