You can’t do distance learning alone. Get tools to help with everything from waking your children in the morning to keeping them organized and on task. Here are some of our favorites for students with ADHD.
Back-to-school shopping looks a whole lot different in the age of distance learning. Forget about extra glue sticks and clearly labeled pencil pouches — this year, the essential shopping list includes tools designed to keep ADHD brains focused, motivated, on track, and happy while learning from home or at school.
From ergonomic tools that improve posture to those that promote social distancing if attending classes in person, these 15 products, chosen by ADDitude’s editors, were selected with your child’s comfort and learning in mind.
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1. Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock with USB Charger Port
The endless days of summer can disrupt your child’s sleep schedule. Rising and shining for school — even if that’s at the kitchen table — can feel downright impossible this time of year. The Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock for Kids promotes the easy transition back to a school-year sleep schedule by lighting up gradually to simulate an energizing sunrise. Your child can choose to break their slumber with seven different light colors and natural sounds, and they can use the FM tuner to listen to their favorite radio station.
This device is also great for helping children fall asleep. It can emit soft light that creates a relaxing bedtime environment that signals to the brain that it’s time for bed.
A favorite among parents and teachers of children with ADHD, the Time Timer is unique in that it actually lets kids see time pass. Just set the timer, and watch as a red film over the clock face disappears with every passing minute – with no ticking and no distractions. The perfect solution to time blindness and a great way to build independence, the Time Timer is a time-management life saver for many ADHD and non-ADHD families.
If your kid focuses better while fidgeting, then these bouncy bands are a must. These stretchy bands wrap around the front legs of a desk or chair, allowing students to move their feet against them as they work. The bands are also quiet – they don’t make noise or disturb other students in the classroom or parents working down the hall. Bands are available for standard “elementary” and “middle school/high school” chairs. The company also sells desks and chairs tailored to fit their bands best.
These privacy shields were mainly designed to prevent wandering eyes in the classroom and improve student focus. During this pandemic, they serve another purpose: providing an extra barrier for students attending classes in-person, and helping them keep their distance. Still, the privacy shield can also be used at home to create more privacy and space, especially if there are other learners in the household.
Distractibility is a hallmark symptom of ADHD, and it can make even the simplest homework assignment feel like torture. With online learning, extraneous noises from a full house may need to be blocked out for hours at a time. These Bose noise-cancelling wireless headphones use a technology called “active noise control” to block out ambient sounds, without breaking any eardrums in the process. Many models of Bose headphones are wireless and compatible with several devices – perfect for tuning in to live sessions with teachers no matter the platform demands.
Let’s face it – our nontraditional learners sometimes do their best work beyond the confines of a desk. With remote learning, you may find that your child wants and needs to move around a lot more – from the bed to the floor to the kitchen counter and back again – when completing school work. This lightweight universal keyboard will keep the words flowing. It uses Bluetooth technology to connect to most devices, including Macs, PCs, iPads, and Android tablets. Your child can switch between their devices seamlessly, meaning they can get their work done whichever way works best for them.
Want to write by hand while avoiding mountains of paper and clutter? Enter the Rocketbook – a smart 36-page notebook that can be used endlessly by wiping the pages clean with a damp cloth. Don’t want to wipe away important notes? Use the Rocketbook app to take a photo of your pages and send them to the cloud. Perfect for students who learn better when taking notes by hand, the Rocketbook offers the best of both worlds as it allows students to access and organize their notes digitally.
Challenging sensory needs and unrelenting energy can make sitting for long periods of time – in the classroom or at home– an exercise in futility for kids with ADHD. The HowdaHUG chair provides the sensory support a child needs by gently squeezing their whole body while they work, making it less likely they’ll squirm or leave their seat.
The kid’s version of the popular Kindle Fire comes with one free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which includes access to thousands of books, videos, apps, games, and educational content – a great supplement to distance learning. Parental controls also let you set screen time limits and decide what content you want your child to see.
For children who struggle to maintain focus and visually track while reading, the Immersion Reading feature (available on newer Kindle devices) dictates and highlights the text. This provides simultaneous input that can be invaluable for children with ADHD and learning disabilities who don’t read linearly or easily.
Smartwatches are popular for good reason — they can help track activity levels, manage busy schedules, and even take pictures. Instead of investing in a pricey Apple Watch, try this less expensive (and more durable) option, which encourages children to stay active with fun motion challenges – important when distance learning without recess periods. Plus, it comes loaded with math-based games to boost your child's brain, as well as two cameras that let them take pictures and videos, and edit them right on the device.
Most kids nowadays, especially teens, spend hours each day glued to their laptops – with distance learning, that’s no hyperbole. To avoid the “laptop hunch,” use this laptop stand to elevate your child’s computer to a more comfortable height, improving their posture and making it more likely they’ll complete their work in total comfort (a wireless keyboard comes in handy with this stand, too).
Whether hung in your child’s bedroom or the mud room, a white board is a great tool for delivering visual reminders and cues to stay organized. Use the whiteboard to make sure the family is on the same page about chores, screen time, quiet time for learning and working from home, and more. Similarly, many students with ADHD use a personal whiteboard to aid in organizing their school work and assignments while remote learning.
For younger ones who are leaning how to write fluidly, these three devices are used to slowly train their hand to write even without a teacher’s helpful corrections. The devices, which fit like a sleeve over a pencil, have grooves that fit to the writer’s fingers, and make up a three-step system to better writing. The first and “easiest” grip, called the “Crossover Grip,” uses a special shape to reinforce proper positioning. The next device, the “Pinch Grip,” helps writers transition to the final “Pencil Grip,” the traditional position for comfortable and controlled writing.
Your child may not need a backpack while learning from home, but they still need to keep all their school supplies in one easy-to-reach place. This seat pocket, while designed for the classroom, is a creative way to keep your child notebooks, pens, calculators, and other items within arm’s reach at home – without cluttering the table. It’s also portable, allowing your child to take it with them wherever they go around the house to complete schoolwork.
In the classroom or at home, this fidget toy, made of two interlocking rings with rolling bands in the middle, may be one of your child's favorites. Described as a "treadmill for your fingers," this discreet fidget promises to keep your child's digits moving and mind focused. Comes in varying sizes.
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