To start the school year out right for your child with and ADHD (or other) diagnosis, it is important to establish a close collaboration between you, your child’s teacher, any professionals of the treatment team, and your child! Here is how you can prepare your child’s teacher to best understand your child’s needs to get off to a great start this academic year.
10 tips to prepare your child’s teacher to best help your child with an ADHD diagnosis:
1. Request to set up a meeting at the start of school year.
2. Get an idea of what your child’s teacher knows about ADHD and his general attitude towards ADHD. Some teachers may be more or less informed about ADHD, as research and diagnostic criteria has changed quite a bit over the years.
3. Inform the teacher of your child’s ADHD diagnosis (or other diagnosis), if he is on any medication or if you chose an alternative treatment method.
4. Find out what the culture of the classroom is like:
- Structure: Is the daily schedule posted? Does the teacher request frequent “brain breaks” during the day?
- How does she describe her teaching style?
- Rules & Expectations: Are there visual reminders posted around the room? What is the reward system? Incentives? Token System? Nature of the homework assignments? Seating arrangements?
- Can your child sit facing the front and close to the teacher?
5. Discuss the best way to contact one another (i.e. via phone or email).
6. Discuss if any notes home or behavioral report cards are necessary or how often?
7. Pass along any recommendations to your child’s teacher that she can implement that you have found helpful for your child.
- “Jake does well when given one command at a time versus following multiple steps at once.”
- “At home, we have found that having Jessica repeat back directions or rules, helps her to be more accountable.”
- “We use the token system at home and Sam seems to do well with it when we are consistent.”
8. Be supportive and open.
- Assist the teacher in any way by being supportive and open to suggestions he or she may have.
- Let the teacher know you want to work as team to make it a successful year for everyone.
9. Offer Praise and appreciation: A positive attitude with your child’s teacher creates a stronger relationship with all involved!
10. Request to set up a follow-up meeting to check-in : This could be half-way through the school year or sooner depending on the needs of your child.