ADHD and moving to secondary school

Once you and your teenager have chosen a secondary school the process of transition will occur. This is usually arranged by the primary and secondary school teachers. If this is not the process between your child’s current primary school and secondary school, then you will need to contact the secondary school to arrange a transition schedule.


As your child moves into the teen years they will be developing their need for independence and responsibility. It is important to involve them in this process and discuss this transition. Your teen with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may manage transition quite well or they may become anxious about this move.

While your teen is moving towards independence and finding their identity they are still going to require your support. Through your discussions with your child they will have begun to understand their ADHD and how to manage themselves. You will have been heavily involved in their primary education by attending meetings and having discussions with school staff to ensure they have access to what they need. This transition to secondary school is one you need to discuss with your teen and come to an understanding of what may be required to ensure continued success while respecting and encouraging their need to be responsible for themselves.

Some discussion points may include the following:

  • Support- discuss with your teen how you can best support with the transition into secondary school. Discuss how you are going to manage meetings with the school and sharing information to support your teen.
  • Academics- discuss how you can put structures in place at school and home to support the learning process and manage their workload. Ask your teen what works best for them, if they are unsure offer some suggestions.
  • Interests and hobbies- it is important that there is a balance of school and leisure. Self esteem and building resilience is critical for all teens. Hormonal changes in the teen years add a further complexity and their interests and hobbies are an important part of managing this.
  • Reflection- make a regular time to have a catch up with your teen to chat about how things are going for them. Be an active listener and build a rapport with your teen. If you are noticing things are not going so well negotiate a plan, set some goals and have them  identify what they would like you to do to help them.

Planning and organisation will help to make the transition to secondary school successful. Think about what may be needed to be put in place prior to the commencement of the school year and how things will be monitored along the way. Have at look at our secondary school transition checklist for more help with this.

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