Guest Blogs

Is Your Child Unable to Focus in Class? How to Help Teachers Understand

Back in school, it’s hard for my daughter Natalie to focus, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t try!

Each year, during the second week of classes, just as students and teachers are starting to get acquainted, my daughter Natalie’s elementary school starts with a mini-conference — where parents get 20 minutes to give teachers a crash-course introduction to their children.

Since Natalie has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, sensory processing problems, and other comorbid issues that impact her learning, I typically go into this meeting carrying a list: Don’t forget such and such from her Individualized Education Program (IEP). When she does this, it usually means she’s feeling that. Instead of reacting to X with Y, please remember to Z.

This year, I couldn’t find a babysitter, so I went into the meeting with Natalie! Having the meeting’s subject there in person turned out to be a very good thing.

Natalie, a fourth grader, has two new teachers this year: her classroom teacher, Mrs. Ade, an experienced teacher who is new to our district, and her special education teacher, Mrs. McCasland. Both were present at the meeting.

To get the conversation started, I asked Natalie, “What do you think are the most important things your teachers should know about you?”

“I’m from Russia,” Natalie said.

“I use fidgets,” she continued.

“It’s hard for me to work, but I’m a hard worker.”

Perfect! The third statement describes Natalie to a T. It can be very hard for her to sit still and stay focused. But year after year, her teachers tell me that she always tries her hardest, always wanting to please. What she lacks in natural ability she often makes up for with perseverance.

And with that, Natalie’s school year was off to a great start. Who wouldn’t love a student with that kind of self-awareness? I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I could never look as cute saying it!

What a special kid.

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Dealing with an Out-of-Line Teacher

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