Screen Time That Helps Students with ADHD
All electronics are not evil. In fact, the iPad can be the key to unlocking your child’s best school performance ever — if used properly and responsibly.
Typically, children with ADHD love assignment pads and notebooks — for creating paper airplanes, that is. I’ve worked with so many middle- and high-school students who become distressed at the idea of having to write down anything, anywhere. This includes homework assignments. Which is why so may assignments get forgotten — and so many grades needlessly drop.
Over the years, I’ve gotten creative in helping students remember to complete and hand in their homework assignments. As you are very aware, that is a multi-step process with a lot of room for breakdown along the way. But it can be done.
Sometimes, the secret weapon is an iPad. When schools allow tablets as an assistive technology, children and adolescents can use them successfully to:
- Take a picture of notes on the board
- Take a picture of the homework assignment written on the board
- Take a picture of worksheets that are important and save them on a folder on the iPad
- Set alarms to reset your attention, and reminders to take your medication or turn in a permission slip
- Time yourself using a stopwatch
Build a Sense of Responsibility and Accountability
Learning to use a tablet responsibly at school gives accountability back to your child and takes it away from you, the parent. You are no longer responsible for waking up your child in the morning, again, and again, and again. The alarm rings and your child either gets up or not. If not, guess who has a long list of household chores to accomplish? There are two small breaks and one lunch hour. The rest is all scrubbing and cleaning. I promise you, your child won’t want to miss that alarm again.
Your child will also learn organizational skills. Instead of the usual notebook bursting with papers crumbled, shoved, and pushed in to one section or another, all documents are now saved in a desktop folder that’s easy to find and sort. No need for hard copies. That’s right, a virtual folder that takes no space in your child’s backpack, in your kitchen, or on the floor.
There’s an App for That
Many of my students use the My Homework app which offers a place to type upcoming homework assignments on a calendar. This app offers strong visuals reminders for assignment deadlines and upcoming events, but it is not the right option for everyone. I typically ask my clients to go home and find an app that they’d like to use as a daily planner that connects to a calendar so they can plan ahead.
The reminders don’t come from a parent or a psychologist. They come from a beloved electronic device that doesn’t have any feelings, so yell away!
Many of us worry that electronics are a distraction for our children. I advocate harnessing the iPad’s appeal and turning it into your next best friend? Your child with ADHD loves his tablet, so why not use it to help your child achieve the very goals most important to his success at school — getting organized, remembering assignments, and handing in homework!
Updated on May 27, 2021