Don’t wait until parent/teacher interviews to speak up.
I know that it can feel overwhelming to connect with your child’s teacher before the school year/semester kicks off. There may be a part of you that thinks the focusing concerns of the past won’t be a problem this year or that you don’t want to have your child “labeled” with a new teacher. You may have convinced yourself that your trip to Staples has solved all organizational concerns or most significantly, you may just feel that you have enough on your plate this September. Whatever your reasons or concerns, I strongly advise against waiting it out.
Being proactive and getting a team on board now, to help your child, may be the most important preparation you do for your child this school year.
Sharing your child’s learning profile, when done at the beginning of the year can be a very positive experience. First of all, ADHD is hardly the completely negative label we often associate with it. for example the ADHD individual has trouble regulating his/her focus yes; but it doesn’t mean he/she can’t focus. Especially if it’s something that they find interesting. And it often comes along with many unique and positive attributes. The fact is, there are many strategies and systems that can help individuals with ADHD cope extremely well with their symptoms, avoiding stressful outbursts and symptoms of anxiety (which are often consequences of untreated ADHD).
By not addressing the difficulties and challenges, it is likely that compounding symptoms of anxiety will be more severe and negative behaviours can become more cemented. And those negative behaviours will be labeled.
If you don’t send your child to school with a tool kit for their symptoms, you make it more likely they will stand out in the classroom and associate focusing concerns with negative feelings and behaviours.
This September, connect with your child’s teacher, coach, or day care provider. Share with them what best helps your child learn, and work alongside them to help build your child’s capacity. Students who believe in themselves will have better results. Moreover, those with good momentum have a better chance of keeping it going. If you believe they can do it, they will rise to it, especially if multiple players are supporting them, keeping an eye on them and communicating together. Don’t wait until the chances have been exhausted and your child is already feeling misunderstood. Acquiring support for your child begins with proactive communication.
Laura MacNiven is the Director of Health Education and an ADHD coach at Springboard Clinic in Toronto. www.springboardclinic.com
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