By Lee Gehrls, Volunteer Resource Development Coordinator
It’s summer. The kids are out of school and hopefully your daily routine is a bit more relaxed. Parents get the summer off from school too, right? I think most of us who have volunteered at the nonprofit over the years who now have kids out of the school system would answer, “No, not really.” When you have a child with ADHD you learn that getting ready to go back to school is much more involved than just buying school supplies, new clothes and shoes, a new book bag and getting back to school bedtimes.
What is there to get ready that takes up most of your summer? Well it starts before school is out. Maybe your physician gave you evaluations for your child’s teacher to fill out those last weeks of class so he or she can evaluate how your child was doing at the end of the year compared to the beginning of school. This is especially true if your child is on medication. And if you do use medication you need to make sure you get your child in to see their physician before school starts for a med recheck.
How did the school year go? Pretty smooth or were there problem areas? Do you know who your child will have for a new teacher? Have you scheduled a meeting with the teacher or teachers before school starts to discuss your child’s strengths and areas that need support, the communication system between you and the teacher, what kind of experience and training the teacher or teachers have with students who have ADHD? Maybe you have to schedule an IEP or 504 meeting before school starts. Were there problems riding the bus? There are lots of things to consider when ending a school year and gearing up for a new one.
We would like to introduce you Success At School, ADDitude Magazine’s back-to-school tips that their editors put together every year. I describe ADDitude Magazine as one stop shopping. If you are new to ADHD it is an easy website to start out on. If you are short on time the website really tries to put all the resources at your fingertips. The information is concise, easy to understand and the advice often comes from professionals who work in the field as well as special articles from national experts on ADHD.
Now when you look at this website you will notice there are 17 weeks of tips, one for each week of summer vacation. Not every family is going to have to cover all of the tips listed and you may have a few areas to address that aren’t on ADDitude’s list. But this website is helpful as a guide: to set up a plan to help with writing problems; reading and math comprehension; controlling impulsive behavior; handling homework; following directions, getting organized and managing time and setting up classroom accommodations just to name a few of the topics.
ADDitude maintains a huge archive of information. If you look at the top of the page you will notice there are links to classroom accommodations, get organized for school, follow directions, homework and friends. These links will take you to even more resources you may want to check out. You also can sign up for one or more of their five free Back-to-School newsletters for parents and teachers, ADDitude Announcements on webinars by ADHD experts and their eBooks, the ADHD Learning Series for Educators and the Research Digest for ADHD Clinicians.
Many of us have used these and other resources over the years and I think most of us would agree that school got off to a better start when we did our new school year ADHD planning gradually over the summer. There’s still time to start planning.