Dr. Jim Roche, Registered Psychologist
Practicing in the Fields of Educational, Clinical and Neuropsychology
Assessment and Treatment for ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioural Issues
School is starting in one week! What to do if you child has ADHD
If your child doesn't have a diagnosis, get one! Your psychical can do this, or contact a psychologist. No one else should be diagnosing ADHD. On-line check lists are inappropriate and often wrong. Avoid them. But don't avoid a diagnosis. Remember, with younger students almost 50% have another co-morbid disorder, such as a learning disability. To understand these issues you need a psychoeducational assessment.
If your child has had academic difficulty for a year or two, despite SIGNIFICANT and REAL interventions by the teaching staff, ask for a psychoeducational assessment. Do not allow the school to present a "learning plan" when they haven't done an assessment! Would you take medications without a medical diagnosis?
A private psychologist can also provide a psychoeducational assessment. They cost from $1,800-$4,200. The cost varies widely. So does the experience of the psychologist. I would insist my psychologist has experience working in schools. Many do not. And remember, only a REGISTERED PSYCOLOGIST cn do this. I often see reports done by "reading consultant, reading expert, dyslexia specialist." These are people without a license! Would you see a "toothologist" instead of a dentist? See a psychologist, and make sure they have worked IN a school.
If your child has behaviour problems due to ADHD do not allow the school to write a "plan" and most certainly not a "safety plan" without a psycoeducational and/or functional behavioural assessment (FBA). For severe behaviour issues an FBA is necessary. If no one in the school is trained in doing an FBA, tell them to find someone. Always put your requests in writing.
Children with ADHD are often given plans that consist of a list of things the child/student is required to do. For instance, "Mark will finish his work on time." That's nice. Mark has ADHD. The plan should tell ou how the school will do two things: 1. Accommodate your child due to his or her disability, and 2. What new skills THEY are going to teach your child. It is not a list of requirements, punishments and guidelines, its an outline of how your child will learn the skills necessary to be successful in the academic environment. The regular way of teaching and learning don't work with children with ADHD, so we are going to do these specialized individual things to help him or her.
Finally, no plan should be about punishments and consequences. With ADHD, which is a neurological disorder, rewards, praise and support are what work. Not punishment or more rules. We know this from decades of research.
Parent education, by the way, has been found to be the most effective of interventions!
Finally, here are my most basic resources for students in the higher grades:
Study and School Related Resources
- Foe older students in high school, college or graduate school: The Cornell Note Taking Method: Click here This is the best way to take serious notes that help you in understanding materials, clarifying materials and studying for quizzes, tests and exams. I also teach another note taking method called the "Two Column Note" that is useful in more general study situations, but the Cornell System is overall the number one method of note taking.
- The New York Times has an excellent article, actually a series of articles and videos, on "Doodle Note Taking." I strongly suggest looking at this. NEW YORK TIMES HOW TO TAKE NOTES
- I often suggest we start with some very simple tasks or techniques, and these ideas seem to fly in the face of peoples expectation that they should make use of a large book or workbook that addresses multiple issues. Stick to one issue at a time. Learn a skill, think about how it works and apply that knowledge to your next problem.
- Here are two great articles on studying. There is a LARGE and LONG book on this topic, several as a matter of fact. But this short version is just as helpful combined with some consultation or coaching. 1. HOW TO LEARN 2. The longer HOW TO LEARN
For more information please visit my website at www.relatedminds.com