ADHD ADHD : Academic Problems Elham Shirazi MD Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist University of Medical Sciences
Failure to complete homework one of the biggest conflicts between parents & ADHD children Avoiding bloody battles over homework is important ! Otherwise : Your teenager associate learning with negative experience It damages parent-child relationship
1. Take medication when doing homework determine the latest time stimulants don’t interfere with sleep 2. Set a specific time to do homework Poor organization skill Lack awareness of time The biggest challenge : getting started ! Involve him in selecting his starting time
3. Set alarm to announce homework time Let him select which alarm system to use The alarm ring announces, not the parents ! 4. Minimize distractions Find a place free of distractions Give him a choice of study location 5. Call a friend to confirm homework Obtain phone numbers early in the grading period
. 6. Find a “Study Buddy”, “Study Circle” Works best if the other doesn’t have ADHD Study together review verbally The more senses used The more likely to learn ! 7. Use color coded monthly calendar color for tests, quizzes, projects, when to start preparing
. 8. Divide homework into smaller segments Make it more manageable Using a timer may add more interest 9. Let using a computer Many have problem with : verbal expression, fine motor skills Typing is time consuming ! A copy of completed work is available every time (wonderful insurance) They often lose their schoolwork !
. 10. Have him dictate themes / reports Dictate to you to type give him to edit Fine motor problems & slow processing affect typing 11. Use white noise Radio, ocean sounds, fans, hair dryers,.… Too easily distracted by other noises
. 12. Recruit someone else for the job Friend, relative, paid professional,…. 13. Find out the routine of homework assignments Your child often forgets Many teachers establish routines for homework Find out routines to monitor your child
. 14. Find out when special projects are due ADHD often forget Ask teachers about major projects & due dates 15. Ask teacher for written homework assignment ADHD often forget to copy from the board Helpful to give them in writing Parents can get it from the teacher
. 16. Ask the teacher to get another student to remind of assignment Must be handled tactfully to avoid embarrassing The selected student should be accepted to your child
. 17. Ask the teacher to modify assignment Slow reading & writing, poor organizational skills, poor memory Spend too much time on homework The most important thing & The purpose of homework is : To learn information & concepts !
. Allow to: photocopy pages fill in the blanks highlight answers assign half the problems ….. If still cover the same number of concepts
. 18. Use daily or weekly reports May be limited to subjects in danger of failing Weekend activity contingent upon bringing a satisfactory weekly report Design a weekly report form Keep things simple (test grades, completion of school - & homework) Request teacher’s signature rather than initials
. 19. Limit time spent on homework If takes too long soon avoid & hate homework If homework takes > 2 hours each night won’t be productive anyway Need to modify homework assignments otherwise
. 20. Watch Out for Hasty Errors If unsupervised : may rush through homework no matter if it is incorrect ! Just want to finish it !
. Review when he is finished Mark mistakes : have him correct errors If frustrated : take break to cool off If blows up : stay calm & lower your voice
. 21. Give Time to Unwind before Bedtime Take a bath Have a few minutes to himself
. 22. Teach Him that : Schoolwork & Homework Will Be Done Either Now or Later !
. Must make up any work he doesn’t complete during the week Must be done even if it is late (even if he receives no credit) Start with most important subjects Do a few problems that will ensure that concepts are mastered for the next test
Forget to Bring Home the Weekly Report Take / Send back to get report Teach key skills first (academics) Can’t learn every skill you want The most important skill must be taught first
After learning to finish his work, you can work on other issues Work on remembering the report later All of us forget things, not just teenagers !
Making Too Many Zeros Making Too Many Zeros Many make good grades if complete school assignment May have lots of zeros into their grades May have lots of zeros into their grades 1. Monitor zeros in subjects in danger of failing 2. Monitor progress through daily or weekly reports 3. Ask teacher to be flexible in grading & to turning in make-up work 4. Have your child average his grades (How many grades of 85 does it take to bring one zero grade up to a passing score ?)
. Weak organization skills Poor memory Poor work habits Knowledge gaps to overcome Don’t learn from negative consequences May feel badly about failing But even their good intention will not always change their behavior !
. Double check homework & Make-up assignments You must work with your child to improve completion of his homework So that he seldom receives zeros !
Failing Classes Failing Classes May not even realize that they are failing ! may be shocked ! Don’t understand full ramification of failing Discussing consequences of school failure may impress him with importance of passing grades Because of ADD even understanding this may not influence his behavior
having to stay behind not being with friends of the same age being ineligible for extracurricular activities having to attend summer school not graduating with classmates ….
Discuss full impact of failing a class Monitor progress if struggling Monitor progress early Call teachers to find out how he is doing Use weekly reports Make up credits for graduation (graduating with friends : important to many teenagers !)
Help your teenager graph his grades Help your teenager graph his grades visual aid realize what grades actually mean encourage him to decrease distance between high & low points quizzes, tests, daily grades,… may be color coded provides concrete positive feedback
Avoiding School Such a negative experience Such a negative experience some don’t want to attend some don’t want to attend Most of us avoid things we don’t do well ! Most of us avoid things we don’t do well ! Emotional trauma of having to go to school Emotional trauma of having to go to school enough to make him physically sick some mornings enough to make him physically sick some mornings They fear they can’t catch up on their school works & pass the class They fear they can’t catch up on their school works & pass the class they may give up ! they may give up !
. Set a standard for attending school Set a standard for attending school Do you have a fever ? If he misses school expect him to work on assignments Difficult to physically make an older teenager go to school !
Have a physical exam Have a physical exam 1/3 - 1/2 of ADHD :chronic health problems (recurrent RTI, allergies, asthma,…) sinus drainage & ENT infections : feel nauseated each morning over the counter drugs, antihistamines, decongestants,…
Developing a comprehensive strategy Developing a comprehensive strategy to increase successes to increase successes make school less aversive make school less aversive solving school problems solving school problems adjusting present medication adjusting present medication
Work on sleep disturbances Work on sleep disturbances may play a role in school avoidance may play a role in school avoidance 1/2 < wake up feeling tired 1/2 < wake up feeling tired teachers need to be aware of sleep disturbances teachers need to be aware of sleep disturbances
Use logical consequences Use logical consequences If you are sick : If you are sick : you stay home all day with no company you stay home all day with no company You may also take to doctor : You may also take to doctor : if you aren’t sick back to school if you aren’t sick back to school
Seek professional help Seek professional help to improve school environment to improve school environment may be school phobia may be school phobia Make school more positive Make school more positive some love to go to school : some love to go to school : visit their friends visit their friends favorite classes (usually non- academic, art, sport,…) favorite classes (usually non- academic, art, sport,…)
Uneven Academic Performance A hallmark of ADHD A hallmark of ADHD Great variability in homework, test grades, class performance Great variability in homework, test grades, class performance Can do the work one day but not the next ! Can do the work one day but not the next ! May be viewed as lazy ! May be viewed as lazy ! (Could do the work if he just wanted to!) Advise teacher of this characteristic ! Advise teacher of this characteristic !