October is ADHD awareness month. ADHD is a medical diagnosis that is invisible and affects those with it in many different ways. It really is a complicated disorder that has become more understood over the years. Yet still there are so many false beliefs that serve to create havoc when it comes to the need for school support. The accumulation of complaints regarding school support as well as CHADD’s intervention created the “Dear Colleague” Letter. In this letter, the U.S. Department of Education has reinforced the fact that school districts are responsible for evaluating and supporting our kids with ADHD.
Although this did not change what currently was already in place, it certainly has created needed awareness that ADHD continues to impact educational access and that our schools need to step up. Parents need to continue to learn and understand ADHD in order to advocate for their kids in the most effective way.
The following are key points that reflect the ongoing misinformation that continues to swirl around through our schools and classrooms, prohibiting effective support for the struggles of ADHD. In addition, ignorance creates low self-esteem in our kids who are bright and capable.
ADHD is a disability that is invisible yet the results of impairments are certainly not! Because the outcome of the impairments show many times behavioral and academic issues, it is many times thought that all is under the control of the child. What is true is that they certainly are capable of achieving, organizing, managing time, and comprehending. But our kids with ADHD may need structure, accommodations, modifications, and remediation for a learning difference. The support in the form of a 504 or IEP must be individualized in order for them to work effectively. The most important thing is that they understand themselves over time in order to know the strategies that will work for them as they proceed through the journey of school. The goal is that the exterior support that they receive through the 504 or IEP will be internalized as they learn what works best for them.
As in all disabilities, our kids should feel good about themselves and realize that ADHD does not limit them. In the end, we cannot change everyone’s mind and that’s ok. But we can insure that our kids understand ADHD and how it effects them to best manage their day.
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