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4 Middle School Challenges for Tweens with ADHD

Most students struggle with the transition from the familiarity of elementary school — especially those with ADHD. Help your child cope with this guide to starting middle school and overcoming common challenges.

Starting middle school can be a challenge for any adolescent, but it’s particularly tricky for tweens with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) who face stumbling blocks like delayed maturity, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

This video explains four of the most common problem areas, and ways to make them a little easier for your child.

4 Middle School Challenges for Tweens with ADHD

More teachers, more homework, and a more complex social scene.

Your adolescent faces new obstacles as she transitions to middle school.

Here are 4 common problem areas — and ADHD-minded fixes.

1. Social Cliques

Challenge: Tweens often search for their “place” inside a social clique.

Ostracized adolescents feel lonely and frustrated.

Others may fear making one false move or standing out from the crowd.

Solution: Discuss social challenges — like finding a table at lunch — and role-play solutions in advance.

Encourage your child to join clubs to meet others with common interests.

If he tells you he’s being bullied, take his concern very seriously.

2. The Backpack Black Hole

Challenge: Without a paper strategy, your child’s backpack may devolve into a wasteland of crumpled and lost homework.

Solution: Label one folder for “incoming papers” and another for completed assignments.

Set a time each week to empty loose items and find lost assignments.

3. Getting to Class on Time

Challenge: Locker stops and social distractions make dashing from class to class a real time-management problem.

Solution: Do a practice walk before school starts so your child knows the location of each classroom and her locker.

Find a buddy in each period who shares his next class.

4. More Homework & Deadlines

Challenge: Assignments are longer, more complex, and more frequent.

Solution:

  • Ask for extended time or chunked-up deadlines
  • Encourage her to join a study group
  • Contact each teacher to discuss helpful accommodations

“It’s important for parents to approach this process as a partnership… and say, ‘My child has been having problems in class because of his ADHD, and I want to work with you [on solutions].’” – Maureen Gill, MSW

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