Shall we work together? Agreements with ADHD children teachers

There are only a few days left until the new school year begins … again …
I recently received a post from my friend Marien (Aula Propuesta Educativa). I found it very helpful in terms of how to start the first day of class with confidence. I thought this  was great and I want to share it with you in case you find it useful.

Basically it is a list of requests for our child´s teachers.. Before talking with them, let’s set the right climate. We should talk to them before or on the first days of school. Our main goal is to communicate our child’s special needs and  help them understand what it is exactly that we need from them. Then, agree on specific points, which ones may be accepted and how we can all collaborate together.
Depending on the ages of our children, some ideas may appear very childish, or completely out of place, but it seemed to me a good idea to expose them so you can choose, or even ‘customize’ some, depending on your personal situation.

Once this first conversation is finished, do not forget to print the agreement and place it wherever our ADHD children can see it. That will give them security.
May I suggest, for example, inside their closets, on the bathroom mirror, or…?

We know all too well that our children have many difficulties in adapting to the rhythm of school. In most cases, these are the small things that solve real problems, and precisely because they seem to be small things to others, they are difficult to represent as challenges.
Let’s use the right tone depending on our partners to get them on our side and understand the situation.

1. – Forget to write down homework: It may be because he didn’t properly hear the task, because he is in a hurry (sometimes they have to change classes, and there is some urgency to leave the class and not be late for the next one) or maybe just because he puts away all of his books in his bookbag before the end of the class and therefore doesn’t write down his assignments for the next day.
Some strategies:
Using a notebook or agenda for homework assignments
Allow for the  use of mini recorders as an agenda.
Allow for a specific moment to write down the assignments and putting away off  the books.
Send homework assignments by email.
Ask the student to review the assignments on the board (the teacher can reserve a spot (always the same one …) on which the assignments would remain written until the end of the day.

2. – Forget to take books and materials home needed to do the homework
Some strategies:
Distribute a schedule to parents  with deadlines for delivery of assignments and assessments.
Staple the homework assignments  for the week on the agenda.
Have duplicates of school materials at home, whenever possible.(ie pencils, pens, erasers, etc)

3. – Forget to take things to school,( ie forms that need a parent´s signature, homework assignments, take home exams etc)
Some strategies:
At some time in the afternoon / evening, set a time to place these important papers in your child´s bookbag or have him do it while you look on.
Having a special folder (with a specific colour) for communications sent from school to home or from home to school and stress that these always be filed in this particular folder.
Have the teachers reduce the amount of paperwork  that is sent home

4. – Forget to stay after school because the teacher wants to talk with the student Note: The effects of some medications begin to decrease at the end of the school day, so that memory tends to be poorer.
Some strategies:
Ask a friend to remind you.
Use post-its in visible places.
Using messages with alarms as reminders.

5. – Forget to write their names on the sheets
Some strategies:
Use nametags.
Give the student sheets of paper with their names already written on them.
Ask another student to remind him to write his name
Do not mark a ‘negative point’ for not writing down their names.
Give instructions to begin the exercise by writing the name and date first thing.
Have students check to see if their names are on the paper before handing it in.

6. – Forget to take books, pencils, pens etc  to their classes
Some strategies:
Having extra material in class for students who need it. Parents can be required to help with that purpose.
Asking a friend to remind them to return the pencils, books, etc  to their place.
Ask the student to write in his agenda the list of the materials required for the class.

7. – Forget to complete long-term projects
Some strategies
Divide each project into subtasks
Assign a deadline to each subtask.
Delivery dates must allow flexibility to re-submit the job with corrections.

And what can we do at home to reinforce all of this behavour! As always, lead by example ….
Say it out loud (although this may sound ridiculous) and share:
– Every time we scheduled our alarms or schedules so as not to forget something important
– Bookmarks we leave in the books to remind us where we left off,  in cook books, to remember the ingredients, in the instruction manuals to quickly retrieve the information we know we will need later on.
– Every where in the house, drawers, shelves, specific sites where we should always keep the same things (house keys, wallet, cell phone numbers of doctors and family, candles, extra light bulbs… ). Suggest which places they can also leave their belongings and discuss the whys these habits are good for them.

Stress that adopting such simple routines for them and for us are very beneficial now and in the future!!! Surely, we can also benefit ourselves following some of these guidelines.

Thank you very much Marien and happy rentrée to all!

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About florpedrola

Desde joven he sentido un vivo interés por las personas. Disfruto con la compañía de la gente: desde siempre con mis mayores, que tanto me han enseñado; y actualmente explorando caminos con los demás. Caminos que den sentido a nuestras vidas, la de los otros descubriendo sus talentos y potencial, y la mía, como coach ejecutivo, como madre de un niño con Déficit de Atención e Hiperactividad, y como adulto con TDAH. He descubierto y podido comprobar que muchas herramientas de Liderazgo e Inteligencia Emocional pueden resultar muy útiles para la convivencia con personas con este trastorno y me gustaría compartir desde mi blog posibles adaptaciones de ‘tips’ a aplicaciones prácticas en el mundo de los TDAH’s.
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