How to Educate a Child with ADHD
As a parent I often ask, how to educate a child with ADHD. It is often stated that parents are a part of the IEP Team. Their responsibility also entails the journey of attaining an IEP in school. Testing is certainly an important part of this journey. But also imperative is the gathering of objective data that shows that the impairments of ADHD are adversely affecting academic achievement. It is important to remember that the diagnosis alone of ADHD is not enough to determine IEP eligibility. Without a documented learning difference, it becomes so important to show the need many times for ADHD to be supported in the school. Because this is a gray area and subject to district decision, concrete data is so important.
So what becomes important to show? Here are a few examples that would show struggles and the need for ADHD classroom accommodations.
- Length of time spent on homework (District policy many times states 10 minutes per grade level)
- Difficulties perceived that prevent initiating the task of homework or classwork
- Emails from teachers demonstrating difficulties in the classroom: impulsivity that interrupts the flow of the class and learning, missed assignments, any lack of understanding, disorganization
- Documentation as to how teachers are dealing with ADHD in the classroom.
- Grades that are poor, inconsistent.
- Any documentation in the testing indicating areas where he is not on grade level
- Areas where it is documented that he is below average in areas like language, math, reading
- Negative behaviors in the classroom impacting attention and relationships with peers.
Remember the following:
- Grades alone do not determine eligibility. Good grades do NOT mean that a child is not eligible for an IEP.
- It is NOT necessary to demonstrate a discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in order to find a child eligible for special ed services. That discrepancy would mean the presence of a learning disability.
- Inconsistent grades and behavior are hallmarks of ADHD, NOT indications of not trying and being lazy.
- Enabling your child by being his CEO of organization depicts a child who is successful in the eyes of the school administrators and at the same time, prevents needed support, strategy development, and self-advocacy on the part of the child.
As the school takes the steps of testing your child, be sure to gather the necessary information in order to support your child’s needs in those gray areas.