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.