Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ADHD Coach Perth: Tips for improving emotional wellbeing at school

In my last blog I spoke about a recent link established between children's mental health & wellbeing and academic results. In this blog I'll share some tips for enabling the school to support your child's emotional as well as academic progress.

Teach them about your child - Make a list of your child's strengths and challenges, and ensure that all of your children's teachers receive the list. If your child is at high school, don't rely on the year co-ordinator to inform everybody - do it yourself, and follow through to check that they have all received the information. If your child is at primary school, remember to include art, music or physical education teachers. Tell teachers that your child has ADHD, but also let them know if there are any co-existing conditions such as anxiety or a learning difficulty.

Let the teachers know what they can do to help your child be successful Share information about your child's strengths (e.g. 'My child is an expert on birds - or WWII fighter planes, and would love an opportunity to share some of this knowledge with the class). Ask the teacher to 'prep' your child in private about questions that will come up in the class (e.g. 'Tomorrow when I talk about volcanos, I'll be asking you about ..... What will your response be?) A few successful responses will enable your child to answer future questions more confidently in the future.

Don't assume that the teacher knows about ADHD. Teachers sometimes base their ADHD  strategies on experiences they have had with a particular student. Let your child's teacher know that ADHD affects each child differently. For example, some children with ADHD have very slow processing speeds, and need a lot more time to complete their work. Others need to work really quickly in order to get all of the information out of their heads and onto paper. Be sure to inform the teacher that inconsistency is one of the most frustrating aspects of ADHD.  Teachers often assume that students aren't trying hard enough because they are successful one day and unsuccessful the next.

Request a mentor or a go-to person for your child. Children with ADHD can feel very isolated and overwhelmed at school. This can result in frequent toilet breaks or sick bay visits. Find out who your child trusts at the school, and have an arrangement for your child to see that person when he or she feels the need. When children feel supported they are far less likely to get anxious - which means they are better able to learn.

Ask the teacher to treat your child with respect. Teachers often become frustrated with challenging children, and they sometimes let that frustration show. As Rick Lavoie explains, each time a teacher is short or disrespectful towards a child, they are giving the rest of the class permission to behave in the same way. By way of contrast, if teachers go out of their way to show the class that they value your child, they will be encouraging other students to do the same.

Contact me if you have more specific concerns about your child:
Mobile 0411 067 541
Email: micheletoner@hotmail.com

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