Help Me Succeed With ADHD; Back To School Tips


We recently started to receive a magazine “ADDitude-living well with attention deficit” in the mail.  The fall annual special article focuses on success at school and actually gives wonderful tips for parents and teachers across each age group: pre-school, elementary, middle school, high school, and college.  I highly recommend this article and magazine to those who haven’t seen it:

As I read through the pre-school and elementary age tips, I couldn’t help but think how relevant these were for the students I work with as well as my own children.  This is yet another reminder of how applied behavior analysis is often used and effective for ALL students, even if those implementing it are not aware.

Here are some of my favorite pre-school tips:

  • Catch your child being good (this is all about positive reinforcement, the most effective preventative strategy)!
  • Use songs and chants—this helps children to maintain focus while doing a task (I also think it’s a great way to pair the task and yourself with reinforcement, while prompting them to complete the task such as “we are lining up, we are lining up”).
  • Write social stories- these stories with pictures help children understand what is expected (I would also encourage video modeling and role playing).
  • Limit words- Mary Wonderlick writes about how when you talk too much, kids with ADHD change the channel.  (Good behavior analysts know that learning can take place with or without words and explanation).

Some great elementary school tips include:

  • Allow alternatives to writing- teach handwriting at a separate time and allow the child to utilize a computer, voice to text software, or even a feltboard to tell the story.  (These are great ideas for accommodations on your child’s IEP).
  • Praise effort over achievement- recognize when the child is putting in time and trying their best.  They may have difficulty completing it, so give them short breaks in between.
  • Make homework easier- ask the teacher for the week’s work so you can break it down into smaller segments.  Pair homework time with snack time or let them stand and finish their work if they prefer.
  • Make a place for everything—teaching organization can help fill those executive functioning gaps.  Posting a daily schedule, referring to it often, and having set learning stations can really help promote learning and focus.  (I think this is great advice for the home environment as well).

You can find many more great tips to use with your child in the home and school setting.  Check out this link- .  Do not hesitate to ask your consultant about some of these ideas for your child preparing to return to school.  Chances are they will be effective tools for your typical child and child with ADD or autism.


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