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Tips for Teachers of ADDers
"Our church’s Sunday school teacher calls my seven-year-old son 'rude,' even though his behavior is clearly rooted in ADHD. What can I do?"
Ask the teacher for a brief meeting to talk about your son’s behavior. First, refer to the specific problem or problems: “You’ve noticed that my son tends to call out and fidget. He’s not trying to be rude. He has ADHD, and that makes it hard for him to control his behavior.”
Next, think about what works to keep your son on track at school during the week, and suggest a simple strategy that the teacher could use to encourage better behavior: “My son often does better when an adult reminds him to pay attention. If he starts to behave inappropriately, try tapping him on the shoulder or placing a sticker on his desk.” After the conference, show your appreciation by sending her a thank-you note (and perhaps a plate of cookies).
You can also help the teacher by reinforcing good behavior with a simple incentive system. Each time your son receives a good report from the teacher, reward him with a special privilege or small treat.
Dr. Carol Brady is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She is also a specialist in school psychology and a well-regarded speaker in the area of ADHD, children, and families in trauma and Tourette's Syndrome.
She received her Ph.D. from LSU and she is currently on the scientific advisory board for the Tourette's Syndrome Association and is an adjunct faculty at Baylor University and the University of Texas. Dr. Brady hopes to help children and families who deal with neurological/developmental disorders by serving as a regular columnist for ADDitude magazine.