Academics and ADHD: Tips for Helping Your Child Succeed
Helping Kids with ADHD Win in School
We all want our kids to succeed in life and the road to success often begins in childhood. We want our children to enjoy learning and excel in their studies. If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, school may prove particularly difficult due to concentration issues, impulsivity and hyperactivity, to name a few symptoms of this condition. The typical challenges parents face with their children and school are magnified many times over for you, not to mention the unique issues directly related to ADHD. It is a struggle for sure, but not all hope is lost; there are several strategies you can employ to help your child succeed academically and make life flow a bit more smoothly for your whole family.
Fidgeting Around May Help the Learning Process
Many children with ADHD have a hard time sitting still and you may find this frustrating when you are trying to get your child to do his homework. But, allowing him to move around may actually be beneficial for the learning process. Research conducted at the University of Central Florida found that moving around may help children with ADHD perform tasks that require working memory more successfully. Working memory involves storing and processing information to be used in the short-term for completing a task or solving a problem—homework is a perfect example. Perhaps, you and your child could do short bursts of activity between math problems or you can give your child a small ball or other object to fiddle with while he is working.
Getting any child to properly do his homework can be a challenge; throw ADHD into the mix and you may have a monumental task ahead of you. Children with ADHD may more frequently forget to record assignments and bring home everything they need to complete their work. The symptoms of their condition do not bode well for sitting down and concentrating on what may be a less than thrilling task for a prolonged period of time. But, there are some strategies to address homework woes.
A study conducted by researchers at Monmouth University in New Jersey compared the effects of a structured homework program against no intervention at all in a group of 39 boys with ADHD. Any homework-related issues were also recorded at the start of the study. The program led to a 50 percent improvement in the treatment group.
The program is quite simple—the hardest part will likely be taking a firm stand on implementing the rules! Students were required to keep a homework journal where they recorded all the necessary information for completing the assignment, which they showed to their teacher before going home for the day. Assignments were to be started within one hour of getting home in a quiet setting and there was no TV, video games, computers, etc…until it was completely finished. If the child forgot to bring home the journal or forgot anything needed to successfully complete a given homework assignment, they would not be allowed to watch TV or use the computer for a day.
Tips for Aiding Concentration
Difficulty concentrating is a particularly troublesome symptom of this condition when it comes to school. Children with this condition do not necessarily lack the ability to concentrate, rather the issue lies in where they choose to focus their attention. Find ways for your child to be more active in the learning process; for example, while doing homework, he can underline important information with brightly colored pens, draw cartoons to illustrate vocabulary or work out math problems with pieces of popcorn or other objects. Research suggests spending time outdoors can improve concentration so perhaps allowing your child to play outside right before starting homework is a good idea.
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