Working Together with Families – Teaching Students with ADD

Attention deficit disorder affects children in all life situations. Communication with the child's family is one of the most important components of any school program.

Invite parents to meet with you and help you plan the child's educational program. Be sensitive to the parents' frustration and fears. Reaffirm your commitment to helping the child be a success.

Some parents are excellent candidates for classroom service. In addition to serving as classroom aides, parents can also be enlisted to provide special assistance. For example, teachers in Fort Lauderdale call upon parents to serve as guest lecturers on unit topics such as woodworking, cooking, or chess.

Families Help Shape Behaviors

The success of a classroom behavioral management program can be enhanced by the family. Educators at Westside Community Schools have developed a classroom-home strategy for involving families in reinforcing targeted positive student behaviors. Students receive points each hour for demonstrating positive classroom survival skills such as completing tasks and assignments, following instructions, and remaining in one's seat. Points are recorded on a form, which is reviewed at home. Families agree to reward or withhold privileges in the home depending on their child's performance. A special procedure allows students to earn back points at home if they have had an unsuccessful day at school.

To enable students to become better organized about their homework assignments, an assignment sheet was developed by a teacher at St. Charles School in Boardman, Ohio. The assignment sheet lists each subject and provides a space where the student indicates whether the homework was completed. Throughout the day, the sheets are periodically reviewed to ensure that students are recording assignments. As students demonstrate independence in completing assignments, the number of reviews is decreased.

Parents are expected to review and sign off on the sheets. Moreover, parents agree that incomplete homework will be completed at school, even if it means that they have to furnish transportation home after school hours.

These Students Are Worth the Effort

The bottom line is not to give up on any student. Although students with attention deficit disorder might challenge your patience and cause momentary despair, helping them succeed can be especially rewarding. The modifications, alterations, and accommodations you make today may have a lasting effect on the lives of these students in the future.

Excerpted from Teaching Strategies: Education of Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

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