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Erasing Anxiety as Transition Looms

The approach of August brings with it the overwhelming and anxiety producing thoughts of the start of school for many diagnosed with ADHD.

The symptoms of ADHD do not allow many times a user friendly environment for them.  What can you do as a parent to ease this transition from carefree to seemingly unreachable demands by teachers?

It’s never too late to back up bedtime.

It does sound like an impossibility but it can and should be done.  Making subtle changes now will accomplish the final goal by September.  Remember, fatigue only accentuates ADHD symptoms, making it harder to focus, dismiss distractions, and deal with topics that are boring.

It’s never too late to review areas of academics that will assist in running with the ball in September.

Some kids do have novels to read for school.  If there is no assignment, why not have your child read an article about something he likes, followed by questions from you to prompt comprehension and memory.  Having your child write a summary is another way of encouraging reading to remember and comprehend.  High interest articles will ease this assignment of yours….and practicing tools of comprehension will eventually transfer to the readings for school that are not always something your child wants to read.  Expect opposition to this suggestion?  That is inevitable so it is helpful to set up a plan with goals and built in incentives for success.  Remember, it’s important to build into the plan some success.  Success may look like reading an article twice a week instead of five times a week that may have initially been set up.  But positive incentives will build on eventual success.  Be aware that this child needs immediate positive reinforcement as well as weekly incentives for completion.

Engage your child in the purchasing of organizational material.

If he is not going to be able to open his binder and place papers in neatly, then it will not be user friendly.  Folders with pockets may be the answer to promoting organization and success.

Remember, structure is very important to your child’s success in school.  Perhaps a week before the start of school, why not develop a provisional schedule with your child.  In that schedule will be incorporated any extra curricular activities with built in times of homework to be done.  These activities can certainly impact when homework can start but at least if a plan is started, your child has the idea that there will be some structure and expectation to the hours after school.  In fact, the plan devised around reading now during the summer can be the example of structure.

Initiate some talks around your child’s feelings about the start of school.

You may discover some fears and concerns that require you to reinforce the point that you are there for him in an advocacy role as well as in a role to teach him self-advocacy.  Grades can be less important than work ethic and attitude.  By discussing, supporting, and empathizing, you as the parent are preserving the parent-child relationship, thereby allowing your child to know that he has an adult in his life who is willing to understand and listen.

Nutrition is also an important aspect of success.

Either talk about likes and dislikes for lunches or even take a trip to the grocery store to view possible choices for a lunch that your child will eat.  No, food doesn’t take away ADHD symptoms but provides necessary energy for the on task behavior that our kids must constantly work at to succeed.

Blog post by Karen Lowry, R.N.,M.S.N.,  a Parent2Parent ADHD Family Trainer for CHADD and ADHD Coach, AAC and blogger for JenningsWire.