What Your Child’s Teacher Needs to Know About ADHD

5 Important Facts About ADHD

Teacher helping young student
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Children spend a good portion of their day at school, yet for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), school is often an area of great challenge. As a parent it is important to work collaboratively with your child’s teacher(s) to help confront challenges and overcome any obstacles with proactive strategies that your child may require for a successful school year.

The relationship your child and his or her teacher develop is often the single most influential factor that sways how your child adjusts to the demands of school.

A teacher who is knowledgeable about ADHD and is willing to provide that extra effort in the classroom can make a huge difference in your child’s life. Teachers who are able to implement appropriate teaching techniques, supports, and interventions are most effective at helping students with ADHD achieve school success.

If you find that your child’s teacher is not well informed about ADHD, take steps to educate him or her about the different ways ADHD affects your child’s learning and behavior. Below is a listing of general information about ADHD that may also help the teacher in gaining a better grasp of the complicated set of problems associated with ADHD.

1.  A Complex Neurobiological Disorder

ADHD affects an estimated 5 to 8 percent, or 2.5 to 4 million school-age children. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Most students show occasional signs of inattention, poor self-control, or overactivity, but for children with ADHD these behaviors occur at a far greater frequency and severity and cause impairment in daily life across multiple settings.

For most children with ADHD, symptoms persist into adolescence, though the overt hyperactivity may diminish with age. For many of these kids, symptoms may also persist into adulthood.

2.  Varying Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD symptoms can affect students in different ways, so that impairments may present very differently from child to child.

The ways these symptoms impact a student can also range from mild, to moderate, to severely impairing. There are three presentations of ADHD that are identified depending on the combination of symptoms a person experiences. These are: the predominately inattentive presentation, the predominately hyperactive-impulsive presentation, and the combined presentation.

3.  Shifting Behavioral Patterns

Students with ADHD often exhibit a pattern of variability in their school work. They may be focused and productive with their work on one day, yet unable to inhibit impulses and maintain focus the next day or even in the next class period. This erratic, inconsistent pattern in performance can be very frustrating to teachers and parents, but it is a core feature of ADHD.

4.  Learning Disabilities

Specific learning disabilities are quite prevalent in students with ADHD. Commonly overlapping learning disabilities include those in basic reading or reading comprehension, math, written expression, and spelling.

Students with ADHD may also experience gaps in learning due to symptoms of inattention and off task behaviors even when they do not have a specific learning disability. Many also struggle with problem solving and organizational skills.

5.  Communicating With a Teacher

Close cooperation between teacher and parent is essential to the success of a student with ADHD. A positive partnership with parents is an important part of an educational plan for students with ADHD. Parent involvement in educational and school-related activities has been documented to improve academic and social adjustment for students.

Sources:

Barkley RA. Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents. Guilford Press, 2013.

Dendy C. Zeigler A. Teaching Teens With ADD, ADHD, & Executive Function Deficits. Woodbine House. 2011.

DuPaul GJ, Stoner G. ADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention Strategies. Guilford Press. 2003.

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