During the academic year, school-age kids spend at least six hours a day at school. Add in extracurricular activities beyond the regular school day, and those six hours can easily become eight or 10. This means that kids spend 25% or more of their time with adults other than their parents—mostly teachers.
As every parent and teacher knows, however, the symptoms of ADHD don’t disappear once your child walks out the front door and gets on the bus. In fact, the classroom setting can present teachers with unique behavior management challenges when trying to teach children with ADHD or related conditions. Communicating effectively with teachers is one of the most important things you as a parent can do to ensure that your child receives the supports and structures needed for success.
Here are five tips to help foster better communication and cooperation with teachers.
Under the Behavioral Model, teachers will ascribe undesirable behavior to motivation, and thus see it as voluntary and willful. This leads to a cycle where the teacher will work to “stamp out” the behavior instead of teaching the child new skills to adapt to the classroom environment. Under the Academic Model, a teacher will recognize the behavior as involuntary and will work to teach new skills over time to help the student maximize potential.
Finding out which mindset a teacher has can go a long way towards figuring out how to approach that teacher and how to work with him or her to better understand your child’s needs and provide for them.
It is crucial to keep an open line of communication with teachers to allow plans and systems to be adjusted as needed and to ensure that your child is making progress. By taking steps ahead of time to prepare teachers for children with ADHD, parents can save a good deal of stress and heartache up front. Like any good relationship, the key to an effective parent-teacher partnership is open, honest, two-way communication.