View Full Version : 7 Things Teachers Would Like Their Students with ADD/ADHD (and their parents) to Know

06-30-13, 05:37 PM
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:ApplyBreakingRules/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> Disclaimer: I don't claim to speak for all teachers, but, seeing as how I live on both sides of the fence (I'm a middle school teacher with ADHD) I thought this list might give ADHD Students and parents some useful insight.


1. Don't assume your teachers donít know the facts about ADHD. As a teacher, I am required to attend all kinds of courses, workshops, and meetings about kids with learning disabilities. I am given a copy of "12 Things High School Students With ADD/ADHD Want Their Teachers to Know" or something like it at least once a semester! (As you can imagine, this is gets especially redundant for teachers who happen to have the condition themselves.) While I appreciate your efforts to help me help you, I donít need an exhaustive list of facts, statistics, websites, and articles that I am already familiar with. Our time together would be much better spent talking about how I can help YOU.

2. I really do forget things, too. If you require special accommodations, you may need to communicate them to me more than once. I might have as many as five or six IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) to keep track of in every class. Multiply that by six classes per day, and youíll start to appreciate why I donít always remember who needs their assignments shortened, due dates extended, special seating arrangements, notes printed out in advance, or test questions read aloud. I really AM trying to meet your educational needs, but like you, sometimes I need reminders.

3. Get organized. I know this isnít easy for everyone, but if you want to succeed in school, figuring out a system that works for you and then sticking with it should be your TOP PRIORITY. Donít wait around for a teacher, parent, or counselor to do it for you. They might be able to give you some good ideas, but you know yourself better than anyone, so who else is better qualified to design your customized organization plan? Analyze your weaknesses and strengths and then put your creativity to good use. (I had to experiment with several systemsóhomework folders, binders divided by subject, separate binders for every subject, color coded notes, day planners, etcóbefore I found one that suited me.)

4. Remember to take your medication. When you skip a dose, kids often experience a Ďrebound effectí which actually makes them more hyper, forgetful, and impulsive than theyíd be without any medication at all. If you opt to treat your ADHD with medication, please make every effort to take your pill consistentlyófailure to do so is counterproductive and actually makes things harder than not having any medication at all!

5. Just because you arenít always a model student doesnít mean I donít value you as a person. Have you ever worked for hours on a project only to have it ruined by a little brother or sister or even your pet dog? Even though you love them and you know they didnít do it on purpose, it can still be pretty frustrating. When a unit I have spent hours preparing doesnít go as planned because you failed to follow instructions, I may not always be 100% successful at concealing my frustration. Donít take it personally. Remember itís not you Iím annoyed at. Itís just the situation.

6. Accept the fact that school WILL be harder for you than other kids. We all have problems to overcome, but some of us have to work twice as hard to overcome them. (In tenth grade I had to stay after school to be tutored two hours every day just to get a lousy C in math!) My advice is to accept the reality that life isnít fair rather than spend your time fighting it or denying it, and then make the most of the gifts you have.

7. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Rather than leave your personality quirks open to interpretation, why not offer your peers a legitimate explanation? I realize there is an unfair stigma that comes with such labels, and some people may judge you unfairly. But in general Iíve noticed that students who donít act like their ADHD is some big secret have more friends who are willing to stick up for them and are more at peace with the world and themselves. Itís never okay for a teacher to reveal information you would rather keep confidential, but keeping accommodations 100% hidden from a class of 30 can be very inconvenient and time-consuming. I always appreciate students who can just pull me aside during class time rather than schedule a private appointment to discuss minor issues like getting extension or clarification on an assignment. Also, public awareness and acceptance of ADHD will happen much faster when those who have ADHD are willing to share their experiences and challenges.

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