Ask the Experts

Q: “Shouldn’t My Child Sit at a Quiet Desk for Homework?”

Not necessarily. Many students with ADHD focus better and produce better work while spread out on the floor or bouncing on a yoga ball while listening to music. Start developing your child’s Personal Homework Profile here.

Q: “My daughter spent all year doing her homework on the floor in her room surrounded by her pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and everything else. I can’t image that’s good for her. I want her to sit at a desk or even a table so she can focus better. But she tells me this works for her. Is it okay? Is there a better way? Her grades are fine and she does do her work. Thanks!” — AvasMom

Hi AvasMom:

The days of sitting at a desk, alone, in silence, with the door closed and not getting up until homework is completely finished are long gone. Your daughter should do her homework anywhere she feels is the right environment for HER. You say that her grades are “fine” and she completes her work. It seems that working on the floor among her special belongings is working. I firmly believe that, as parents, we need to take our cues from our children regarding what works for them.

I find that most of my student coaching clients who have ADHD and/or executive dysfunction need to move around to initiate, focus, and stay on task. So perhaps your daughter prefers the floor since she can lie down, spread out, and move around.

[Get This Free Download: Homework Ideas That Work]

Homework is usually the last thing our children want to be doing after a long day at school. So it’s important for them to figure out both their strengths and their needs, and to throw in a little fun, energy and creativity along the way.

Every student, no matter their challenges, has individual homework preferences that comprise what I call a Personal Homework Profile. By tapping into these preferences or personality traits, your daughter can create a customized approach that focuses on HER best practices for getting work done. It also removes the guesswork around “What worked for me before?”

I create one for every student with whom I work.

The profile includes:

  • the time of day they feel most energized for getting work done
  • work style
  • ability to focus on more than one thing at a time
  • pace of work
  • what type of environment — furniture, sound/music, and supplies — is needed
  • and more preferences as appropriate

[Read: The ADHD Homework System We Swear By]

Visit this page to download my free Personal Homework Profile template. Have your daughter begin to note what strategies, tools, resources, and spaces she needs to be more productive and stay on task. Make sure to plan each type of work she does. For example, she might like doing her reading in a comfortable chair in the den but prefer to spread out on the floor when working on a big project.

By creating a “Profile” you are taking a more holistic approach to homework and allowing your daughter to identify her needs so that she can maximize her homework muscle.

Homework: Next Steps

ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to the ADHD Family Coach here!

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