Q: Do schools treat kids with ADHD differently from other children?

A: A. While it's true that children struggling with ADHD need structure and specific strategies to engage their attention, even kids without the condition benefit from these classroom practices as well. That's why, in most cases, kids with ADHD can remain in general education classrooms with their peers. Many teachers have experience dealing with kids with ADHD and are willing to make accommodations and adjustments like placing the child in the front of the classroom (where he's more likely to focus) or seating her away from windows to minimize distractions, and providing supports like help getting started on assignments, extra monitoring and communication between home and school, and gentle reminders of behavioral expectations. In addition, some children may need and qualify for special education services, but many also do very well without it.

That said, parents of kids with ADHD need to be very involved in ensuring their child gets the necessary support for school success. This involves parent efforts to work with the school collaboratively, as well as being aware of their child's educational rights. Sometimes the class environment is not appropriate, and not all teachers understand ADHD or are willing to make accommodations. Parents will need to know how to best advocate for their child's needs.

Copyright 2009

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