Your ADHD Education Guide: Summer Learning

ADHD experts and other parents answer your questions about encouraging summer learning, limiting screen time, and preparing for the school year ahead.

Build smarts while school is out for your child with ADHD.
Dear ADDitude: Part 1
Our readers ask: How can I set the stage for academic success this summer?



Question 1:

“My 7 year old was just diagnosed, and we don’t want to put him on medication yet. But his teacher says he makes humming sounds, gets up from his seat, and can’t concentrate. He tells us he tries hard to behave but he just can’t. What alternatives to medication should we consider?” Read the answer.


Question 2:

“My first grader is ‘holding his own’ academically, but he’d be doing much better if he could focus. Socially, he has poor body and impulse control; he’s also very emotional and cries immediately when something doesn’t go his way. How do I know when it’s time for medication? I want to try everything else first.” Read the answer.


Question 3:

“My 9 year old takes 30 milligrams of Vyvanse on school days. We give him the weekends, vacations, and summers off the medication as it helps with sleeping and eating. So, we have been off medication since Wednesday and he is off-the-wall crazy. There are rebounds, but this is nuts. What should I do?” Read the answer.


Question 4:

“My 9-year-old son was just diagnosed with ADHD. He’s doing fine academically, but he often acts out in class. Is it best to look into an IEP or 504 Plan? Or do I wait and see how he responds to the medication?” Read the answer.


Question 5:

“I’m keeping my daughter very busy this summer with lots of sports camps, but on ‘down’ days she wants to ride her bike or scooter around the block. I have watched her numerous times not watch for cars until she is halfway into the street, or stop to talk with any stranger walking a dog. How can I instill caution in her without making her anxious?” Read the answer.


Question 6:

“Our 11 year old has become more defiant and independent lately. Now that summer is here, he expects to be entertained every day — and can be manipulative about getting his way. Any summertime tips?” Read the answer.


Question 7:

“My grandson was kicked out of 4 preschools before his diagnosis of ADHD and ODD. He takes Ritalin twice a day, which helps with his attention but does nothing for the behavior. What can we do now to get him ready for kindergarten?” Read the answer.


Question 8:

“My 14-year-old son is entering high school next year and doesn’t have many friends thanks to his ADHD, anxiety, and immaturity. I thought that camp would help him build some life and social skills. Any recommendations?” Read the answer.


Question 9:

“My 14 yr old is addicted to playing video games. He takes Concerta when he is attending school, but is off of it for the summer and seems to be self-medicating with video games. His behavior is good and he performs all of his chores. Am I concerned over nothing?” Read the answer.


Question 10:

“My daughter has been diagnosed with dyslexia. Motivating her to read during the school year is especially difficult; during the summer, it is downright impossible. Do you any recommendations for motivating a child with weak language skills?” Read the answer.


Question 11:

“My son is entering middle school in the Fall. For the first time, he’ll have multiple teachers and lots of transitions during the day. How can I best prepare him for this over the summer?” Read the answer.


Question 12:

“I’m worried that my daughter will lose the math skills she worked so hard to build up all year long. How can I keep her mind fresh without forcing math worksheets on her?” Read the answer.


Question 13:

“My son is gearing up to enter middle school, where the new Common Core standards require kids to demonstrate a proficiency in oral presentation. He is self-conscious and hates public speaking. How can we work on that over the summer?” Read the answer.