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May 14, 2020

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If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or is non-neurotypical, this brave new world of homeschooling and schooling in general post pandemic might seem a bit overwhelming as a parent.

Hayden McEvoy, A Team Tuitions founder, who also has ADHD, knows that this struggle is all too real. Your child probably has problems with focusing, with finishing tasks, with misplacing their belongings, and even with forgetting instructions. It can all result in one very frustrated and disillusioned kid – and parents at their wit’s end.

Hayden has shared his insights from an educational point of view and also as a person who suffers from ADHD.

The struggle is real

As we all know, ADHD is not a developmental phase, but a disorder where your child has problems focusing, paying attention, organising, prioritising tasks, and remembering instructions from teachers or where they’ve left belongings. It can be really hard on their self-esteem and academic performance. These kinds of issues are exacerbated at the moment, with the global pandemic having changed the way our kids are currently attending school and taking classes.

Your child has gone from a routine they’ve developed over a period of months and years, to the disruption of learning from home. We as adults feel the everyday stress of that – your non-neurotypical child definitely does, too!

Thankfully, your child’s teachers are experienced at developing learning strategies for non-neurotypical children in their classes, and so their workloads are tailored to these individual needs.

But, how do you help your child manage in this different environment? And how do you help them achieve their best results at home?

What you can do to help?

Depending on the difficulties your child has experienced while attending school from home, it is important to understand their behaviour and the reasons behind it, before you can prevent it. Talk to your child’s teacher about things you may have noticed and whether this is a behaviour they usually display. Your child’s teacher will have insights into this and what you can do to help.

1) Adapt their learning environment

One of the best pieces of advice is to adapt the learning environment your child will be using to best suit their needs. Whether that means removing any distractions, having a minimalist-style working space, and allowing for multiples when it comes to stationery or notebooks (in case your child misplaces them) depends entirely on your child and what works best. You could set them up in a spare bedroom, at the kitchen table, or any room where there aren’t any huge distractions.

2) Routine Routine Routine

Secondly, developing a routine so that you can help your child to be more organised can help. Certain subjects can be studied on certain days, just like they do at school. Motivate your child by helping them to create a task list with dot points they can cross off, to help keep them motivated. Encourage your child to work on the more difficult concepts in the morning, as young brains are typically more receptive at that time of day. Colour-code tasks by the level of priority, to help your child know which things need to be completed first. And, the all-important one – make sure plenty of breaks are scheduled, so that they can refuel and stay on track.

3) Know your child’s learning language

Thirdly, every child’s learning language is different, and this is especially true of non-neurotypical children. Some kids learn through listening or writing, others learn by doing. Most children with ADHD will need a combination of these three things in order for information to be retained. Have your child read the instructions aloud, and then re-write them in their own words. Try to ask your child’s teacher for a creative presentation of the course material, wherever possible. And encourage your child to break their assignments down into more manageable chunks.

Hayden McEvoy is the founder of A Team Tuition, a tutoring company that believes in empowering every student to reach their full potential. They cover Primary School, High School as well as ATAR preparation.

What challenges have you faced homeschooling your child (with or without ADHD)? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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  • Routine is the only way to keep your sanity.

    Reply

  • I don’t have a child with ADHD. So my challenges have involved motivating my daughter to do the school work when there are so many other tempting distractions at home

    Reply

  • This would be so hard to deal with

    Reply

  • I haven’t had to home school as my kids are too young but being a primary school teacher I feel for everyone or there. I just hope people have taken the opportunity to do other things when home schooling got too tough. We will probably never get this time again. We should treasure being alive and hopefully slowing down and not taking things for granted when we go back to a bit of normality.

    Reply

  • As the parent of a son with Aspergers, I keep saying how thankful I am that he completed his schooling in 2018. I know how difficult this will have been for him and I’m thinking of all those parents having to homeschool their kids with special needs.

    Reply

  • this looks hard

    Reply

  • It’s challenging to do home schooling as my kids are in different year levels..

    Reply

  • I think these tips are relevant for kids that don’t have ADHD as well. A challenge is that sometimes your kids take you for granted and therefore show less respect to you when you’re trying to teach or instruct them and they’ll just complain more. Whereas when they’re in the classroom with their teachers they might be more fearful and respectful.

    Reply

  • I no longer have this problem and I sympathise with parents who do. You want whats best for your child and you are both going into this with little knowledge. Work with their teacher and see what has worked for your child at school and try to follow this at home. Try starting school work at the same time as they would at school and follow that timetable. Wish all parents the best in this worrisome time.

    Reply

  • it’s a hard thing to juggle home schooling let alone having adhd and other issues making it stressful for all involved. I think all homeschooling parents are doing an amazing job given the circumstances and thankfully this home schooling time is coming to and end and we can then focus on getting back to some sort of normality and routine.

    Reply

  • Short bursts of learning with lots of breaks and activity in between.

    Reply

  • Staying focused, finding things that the kids are interested in helps


    • Yes I agree, finding activities that are interesting and encourages them to engage is so important !

    Reply

  • Yes visuals, daily planner, first then strategy with reward activities really helped us with plenty of hands on activities to make it interesting and get my daughter engaged. Plenty of movement breaks too.

    Reply

  • Add in some movement breaks and a visual schedule so they know what they need to do can also help

    Reply

  • It is really hard for kids to stay focused and prioritise tasks at home because they are very used too their home environment and maintaining discipline seems to be hard.

    Reply

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