Tips for Talking to Your Child’s School About ADHD

Tips for Talking to Your Child’s School About ADHD

September is here and so is the return to school for many kids. In addition to organizing the school supplies, after school schedules, and car pools, parents may also be busy starting to communicate with their child’s school.

If your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it is important to talk to their new teacher and the school support team early on.

ADHD (or ADD) is a neurological disorder that affects the parts of the brain that plan, focus, and follow through on tasks. For these reasons in addition to several others, communicating your child’s diagnosis to their school is important.

Here are some tips for talking to your child’s school about ADHD.

1. Request an appointment.

The start of the school year is one of the busiest times for teachers. Instead of trying to catch them during drop off or pick up, try emailing to request for an in-person or phone appointment. Asking for 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time will be the most productive way to share information and begin to initiate a relationship with your child’s teacher.

2. Explain how ADHD affects your child.

Your child’s teacher may know about ADHD and has likely had children in their classroom with the diagnosis in the past. However, they do not yet understand how ADHD impacts your child. Explain to your child’s teacher what they are most likely to see in class. Does your child have a hard time sitting still? Or call out of turn? Is it difficult to get them back on track after their attention has wandered? Be sure to talk about how ADHD impacts your child academically, behaviorally, and socially.

3. Talk about accommodations.

If your child has a 504 plan or IEP, be sure to bring it to the teacher’s attention. Provide a copy and ask them to review it. When reviewing the accommodations, it may be helpful to have the School Psychologist or an administrator also part of the meeting. You can learn more about classroom accommodations here.

4. Offer to partner with the teacher and the school.

Asking how you can help shows your child’s teacher that you understand education is a partnership. Open communication from the start will send your child’s teacher the message that you are happy for them to reach out to you throughout the year. This is also a good time to talk about the best ways to stay in touch. Does your child’s teacher prefer email, phone, or another mode of communication?

If you are looking for more ides of how to approach your child’s teacher about the upcoming school year, has published this resource:  Conversation Starters to Use with Your Child’s Teachers.

Early and productive communication between you, your child’s teacher, and support staff at school is a great way to set your child up for a successful school year.