Middle school can be challenging for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) children, what with tougher classes, social pressures and having to make new friends, locker combinations, books, assignments, and schedules to keep track of, and other new demands and responsibilities. How can an ADD/ADHD student survive? These strategies will help.
Help ADD/ADHD Students Succeed Academically
Make sure that accommodations continue to be followed. Middle-schoolers continue to benefit from the kind of structure and guidance that helped when they were younger. Schedule a meeting with the special-ed teachers and chairman to make sure that classroom accommodations are still being carried out. If you have new ideas for accommodations, discuss them now.
Also, consider drawing up a contract with your child, based on what has worked well in the past. You might want to work on school-related behaviors that need improvement, and offer new rewards for success.
Be alert to learning disabilities. Learning disabilities (LD) sometimes go undetected until middle school or later, especially in bright kids. Look for warning signs: reluctance to read and write, poor reading comprehension, trouble with abstract concepts, and poor essay-writing skills. If you suspect LD, request a formal evaluation from your child’s school now.
Bypass bad handwriting. Many kids with ADD/ADHD have poor handwriting due to problems with fine motor coordination. This can cause them to do poorly on tests and homework assignments. Using a portable computer with a built-in keyboard, like AlphaSmart, to write reports and take notes lets children work around this.
Next: How to Make Friends
This article appears in the Spring 2010 issue of ADDitude.
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