Published on ADDitudeMag.com
10 Talks to Have at the Start of the School Year
Set your child up for a successful school year by having these important conversations with your child, your teacher, your doctor, other parents, your family -- and yourself.
Talk with Your Child About the Upside of ADHD
If you child has ADHD, she may have low self-esteem. Before the school year starts,
state the positives of ADHD by framing it constructively. Use phrases like,
“You have a turbo-charged brain, meaning you have tons of great ideas and will
have fun your whole life. But like a racecar, you need to know how to put on
Ask Your Child About His Friends
Your ADHD child may need help
identifying classmates he can befriend. Early on, sit down and talk about his new classmates. Listen for clues about personalities that might
complement his own. Ask him what after-school activities he is interested in.
He has a better chance of making friends with a child who has similar
Help Your Child Appreciate His Teacher
Children can some times use
dislike for the teacher as an excuse to stop trying. Engage your child to find
something to appreciate about her teacher, especially if he thinks that
teachers are the enemy. This could be as simple as appreciating a teacher’s
taste in music or movies, or the car he drives.
Talk with the Teacher
Talk with her teacher during
the first week of school. Without being pushy, clarify your child’s challenges
and strengths. Tell the teacher about discipline strategies that have worked in
the past, and let him know about your child’s interests—create an album of
photos and anecdotes so he gets a well-rounded view of her. If you have an IEP
or 504 Plan in place, make sure her teacher knows about it.
Follow-Up with Your Child's Teacher
Schedule a second meeting
with your child’s teacher a month into school. If your child is on medication,
ask the teacher if she notices any side effects, or if there are times when his
ADHD symptoms are not well managed. You may need to adjust his medication. Keep
the lines of communication open through the school year. Calling or emailing is
probably easier than doing a face-to-face meeting.
Talk With Your Child's Doctor
If your child is on
medication, talk to the prescribing doctor in late summer and make a plan for
school. If this is the first time your child will be taking medication,
schedule this appointment several weeks earlier, so you can fine-tune the dose
and timing before school begins. Make sure your child has coverage during his most
Check-In with Your Child's Doctor
A few weeks after school
begins, have a follow-up conversation with your child’s prescribing doctor. Use
the feedback from your child and her teacher, and your own observations, to
decide if the current course of medication is right. Discuss any side effects
you’ve noticed and how effective the treatment plan is throughout the day.
Connect with Other Parents
It’s your decision to share your child’s condition with other parents. If you
do talk, there are benefits.
>> Sharing invites parents to share—you might pick up tips
about meeting your child’s needs.
>> You model good social skills to your child.
>> Speaking openly
about ADHD will make him proud of the condition.
Discuss ADHD as a Family
ADHD affects your family dynamics. Have your child describe what ADHD feels like, and explain how the family can support her. If you have non-ADHD children, let them share their perspective as well. Encourage each family member to talk about his or her challenges and the kind of support he or she needs.
Talk to Your Partner
Sit down to review what you’ve
learned about your child in the last year. What helped him succeed? Has his
personality changed? Are you both on the same page when it comes to discipline,
goals in school, extracurricular activities? Maybe an old idea needs revision.
You may face some new challenges this year, but trust yourself to make the
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