Your child may or may not have a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) prior to commencing school. It may not become apparent until the early years of school that they have difficulty in managing the academic and social requirements of school. Keeping this in mind your choice of school will be influenced by where you live, what type of school system is available and what your preference might be. The important thing to do is to communicate and ask questions of the school once the diagnosis is made.
The list of indicators for ADHD will be the basis of discussion with the school staff in how to support your child within the learning environment. If your child also has a learning disability such as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Intellectual Disability (ID) then further considerations need to be made.
If there is a suspicion or you have a diagnosis of ADHD for your child it would be a good idea to request a Student Support Group meeting. This is a proactive strategy to help everyone to work together to have strategies in place to support your child, the school and you and your family. Some of the supports and ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the curriculum to consider for your child might be:
- Use of the child’s name before verbally interacting to gain his/her attention
- Be in close physical proximity when interacting
- Provide short, simple concrete instructions
- Rotate physical activity with sedentary activities
- Catch the child doing positive things and acknowledge these
- Use play activities to practice listening and attention skills
- Consider the environment and remove clutter that may be distracting
- Teach the child to plan by creating systems such as diaries, lists, folders etc
- Keep your own emotions in check
This is just a short list of supports that can initially be put in place to help your child. Once their capabilities become apparent then further individualised supports can be put in place. This will change over time as the demands of the curriculum and social interactions become more complex. Communication in regards to your child’s needs is crucial and it will be necessary to review this annually as teaching staff change and the student classroom dynamic changes as well.