4 Tips for Talking to Your Child’s Teacher About ADHD
August 8, 2018
As the summer winds down and a new school year begins, there’s bound to be a few bumps in the road as your family settles into a new groove. The sudden shift back to early mornings, homework, and adjusting to a new teacher can be jarring for anyone, but many kids with ADHD find this disruption to their routine especially difficult.
At some point or another, you might find yourself having to meet with your child’s new teacher to address certain challenges of ADHD in school. While no one particularly likes getting that phone call, it’s important to try and use this meeting as an opportunity to help explain how your child’s ADHD may create unique barriers for him or her in the classroom. These conversations can be tricky, but they don’t have to be a nightmare.
Try these tips the next time you need to discuss your child’s ADHD with their teacher.
Stay Positive It may be tempting to blame the teacher for not being able to accommodate your child’s needs, but blaming just causes tension. Try to approach the teacher with an open mind and view them as an ally. Some teachers are unaware of the intricacies of ADHD and may simply need more information about what your child is experiencing on a daily basis.Since problems can be difficult to see as a positive thing, try reframing – change your mindset to see the problem in a new way. If the teacher has repeatedly tried to use a learning technique that doesn’t seem to work for your child, rather than seeing the teacher as unaccommodating, try complimenting his or her dedication to consistency. This helps show that you don’t view them as “the bad guy” in this situation.
Ask Questions It may sound obvious, but asking questions shows that you value what the other person has to say, which can be particularly helpful in this situation. It shows that you recognize that the teacher spends a lot of time with your child and they might see things you don’t.Try asking if they’ve noticed any patterns in your child’s behavior – does he or she seem to act out right before lunch every day? Or are group projects particularly tough for your child to handle? When the teacher responds, use reflective listening to show you’re fully engaged. Try repeating some of what the teacher says in your response back:
Teacher: “Kayla has been having issues with excessive chatting lately.”
Parent: “I know how frustrating Kayla’s excessive chatting can be. It’s been happening at home too.”
This method helps reiterate that the teacher is being heard, shows that you’re both on the same team and that you’re willing to try to find a solution.
Aim for a Solution Keep in mind that most problems have multiple solutions, so while your way might work, the teacher’s way might work too. Offer suggestions about what you’ve found to work in the past, but also try to keep an open mind.If you find yourself at an impasse with your child’s teacher, try to keep a level head. The teacher may not fully understand ADHD and changing their mind may be difficult and ineffective. Know that there are usually other resources within a school that are set up to help you in these situations. Try to set up a meeting with a guidance counselor or another member of the school administration to find a solution.
Meet Before School If you haven’t met your child’s new teacher yet, a great way to get your child ready for the new school year is to see if you can set up a time to meet before the first day of class. Talking with your child’s teacher before any issues occur could help prevent them from popping up in the first place – and what better time for prevention than before school starts?Use this time to discuss any known trends your child experiences, like being chatty first thing in the morning or having focus issues after lunch. The teacher may have ways to help minimize these disturbances and keep your child on track. Also, ask the teacher about any big projects that will be coming up over the school year. Knowing what to expect can help you and your child prepare.
“Tips for Talking to Teachers about ADHD | CHADD.” CHADD – The National Resource on ADHD, www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/For-Parents-Caregivers/Education/Tips-for-Talking-to-Teachers-about-ADHD.aspx.
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