Help Educators Understand Facts About ADD
Don't lose your cool.
It's important to state your case in a calm logical way. Sometimes that is difficult when your child is in pain from the actions of teachers at school. When teachers or administrators don't understand your child's needs, it can be extremely hurtful.
Know what you are talking about.
Effective communication starts with a confident attitude. You know your child best, and you are an expert on that child. Don't be intimidated by educational jargon. Learn about education. One of the best ways to do this is to go to Wrightslaw.com. Pete and Pam Wright offer you the resources to understand the educational process and build your confidence. Know your rights and obligations.
Join a local advocacy group. You will find support and people who can help to guide you. I put these terms into a search engine and found several helpful groups: "attention deficit disorder" "support groups" and the name of my town. You might also want to subscribe to ADDitude Magazine.
Provide resources to help get what your child needs.
I have found it effective to provide teachers and administrators with written materials in individual file folders. I make sure that the resources I provide are from authoritative sources. The "Resources for ADD" section to the Attention Deficit Disorder Site at BellaOnline offers some reviews of excellent websites. There are some excellent books in the "Reviews" section. Links to both the "Resources for ADD" and "Reviews" are listed alphabetically on the left side of the Attention Deficit Disorder front page.
If you want to know more about a book, just read the full review. I listed books that I feel are especially relevant below.
Books to help parents work effectively with schools and schoolwork.
*How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD
*AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed
*Building School Success with ADD
*The Hidden Curriculum
*Delivered from Distraction with ADD
If it is important enough to talk about, you need to put it in writing.
Make e-mail your friend. If you discuss something with a teacher or administrator, send a follow-up note to solidify details of what you discussed. When you ask for something that your child needs, do it in written form. Keep a log of the letters and when they were sent. I would make a file that includes the letter or e-mail and any reply that you got from the school. You want a reply, and you should ask for one. It doesn't need to be confrontational. In fact, it should be friendly, but explicit. Rather than writing, "I'll expect your reply by such-and-such a date," say instead, "I'll look forward to hearing from you soon." If you don't hear from them, give them another chance to reply. Then, follow the chain of command. This chain is usually, first the teacher, then the principal, then the director of the school district's special services department. Written documentation is especially important when you are requesting an evaluation or asking that accommodations in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) be followed. Putting conversations and agreements in writing is a way to make sure that there is a paper trail. All parties know what is expected.
Parents of children with Attention Deficit Disorder need to be strong advocates for their children. It is a long and rocky road that will take you to places that you never thought that you would go. There is a lot of personal growth for parents, too. You not only help your child, but you can shape the attitudes of their educational team. The attitudes of teachers and administrators can influence a child's feelings about education for a lifetime. Work to ensure that your child has a positive school experience. This can start when you begin to educate the educators about Attention Deficit Disorder.
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Superparenting for ADD Book Review
How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD
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