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What Your Child's School Should Know About Their ADHD

What Your Child's School Should Know About Their ADHD

If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you know how challenging it can be to manage their daily behavior. Your child may seem overly eager and talkative, and may be disruptive, restless, and unfocused.

Research suggests that 30-50% of children with ADHD also have learning disabilities that interfere with reading and sitting still. Here at Penguin Pediatrics, Dr. Umesh Kodu and Dr. Andrea McKennon offer diagnosis and treatment for ADHD. We recognize that as parents, you’re going to face challenges due to your child’s condition.

Your child spends a lot of time at school, a place that isn’t always designed for kids with ADHD. Here are some things you should let the teacher and school administration know about your child’s ADHD so that you can help your child thrive and you get fewer calls from the principal’s office.

Talk to the administration about an education plan

An IEP (individual education plan) or 504 plan can help your child thrive. This plan identifies and prescribes the services and accommodations your child needs to excel at school. If your child has ADHD, they qualify for such a plan. Make sure it’s developed and put into action.

If your school does not offer such individualized plans, it will be up to you to do a lot of the work of informing your child’s teachers about their behaviors and how to best manage them.

Foster open communication with the teacher

Even if your child has an IEP, let the teachers know that your son or daughter has ADHD. This helps the educator take steps to help your child succeed.

Don’t wait to do this until the first parent-teacher conference, which often happens several weeks after school has started. Your teacher needs to know from day one (and preferably before day one) that your child may be on ADHD medications and may have some behaviors associated with ADHD.

It’s also a good idea to talk to other teachers and staff that your child interacts with, such as the gym teacher, bus driver, or lunchroom monitors. When they know about your child’s needs ahead of time, they can help your child manage better in these more unstructured times. This early awareness helps your child avoid unnecessary discipline and failures in learning. 

Help your child’s teacher make small accommodations

When arranging the class seating plan, the teacher can sit your child in a space where they won’t be tempted to talk or be as distracted. The teacher can also build in brain breaks that allow the kids to move around the classroom. 

Explain that your child does best with clear and brief instructions and simple routines. They may also need extra help with organization and need to be reminded to slow down.

OIder kids with more complex projects may do best if the assignments are broken down into smaller parts. 

Alert the school nurse if your child is on medication

If your child takes medication to manage ADHD, it’s important to let your school nurse know the specific drug name(s) and dosage(s). Your child may not have to take a dose at school, but if side effects develop or your child has an emergency, it’s important their medical records at school are accurate. 

Some children take medications that require a midday dose, and this is where your school nurse plays an especially key role. Make sure the nurse has all the instructions about the medication and dosing.

If you need help managing your child’s ADHD, contact us at Penguin PediatricsCall one of our offices in Ashburn or Stone Ridge, Virginia, or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.

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