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Regular Features

Dr. Steven Richfield provides articles on many different aspects of raising a child with ADHD.                                   

Each month we our advocate will be answering questions from our visitors about yours and your children's rights in the educational system.    

A mother is trying to help her teenage son learn anger management.   

Five great ideas for motivation, including The Shoe Race, Trading Places and more.  

Organize your child at home, and maybe find some tips that will help you as well.  

Headlines about ADHD, Learning Disability and Mental Disorders

Study on ADD and TV
The recent study published on watching television between the ages of one and three and the possible link to ADD/ADHD did not take many considerations into account. The author of the study even admits that he cannot conclude that television watching and ADD/ADHD are linked.

Read the Article

Organization For School

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Helping Your Child Take Notes  

Before a new chapter begins in class, have your child go through their text book.  Using their notebook, write down the chapter headings in the notebook. (for older children have them write these heading themselves)  Have your child come up  with a system for learning what is most important in class, and place stars in their notebook next to sections that the teachers spends a lot of time explaining.  These will be the sections that are most important and will most probably have the most questions on a test.   

For example, if your child is studying the Early American History, have them write the heading for the chapter in their notebook. If the teachers spends time explaining the Boston Tea Party, they should place a star next to it.  If the teacher spends a great deal of time explaining George Washington in Valley Forge, then have your child place 2 stars next to that heading.  When checking the notes and studying for the test, you and your child will both know what areas the teacher views as most important.  Claire

What Day Is It?  

Each day kids usually have one of the "extra" classes at school, gym, art, music, library etc.  It is sometimes very hard for them to remember what day is what early in the morning, and this can cause them to forget to return library books, to not have the proper clothing for gym or not be prepared in other ways.   

Find out your child's schedule and have them make up a calendar for themselves that just shows the days of the week and what special class they have for that day.  They can write the information or cut out or draw pictures to depict the class.    

Use a strip of velcro and cut small pieces and place one next to each day.  Then attach the other half of the velcro to the back of a cardboard disk.  Every night at bedtime, have them put the cardboard disk on the following day and get together anything that is needed for that class.  In the morning they can check what class they will have and be prepared.  

Back To School means Back To Homework  

The start of a new school year means the start of new homework battles for many parents.  For those children can can drift off and spend an hour day dreaming instead of doing their homework, buy a small alarm clock with a 10 minute snooz button.  Have the alarm set to go off 10 minutes after your child starts their homework. When the alarm goes off, have them hit the snooz button and the alarm will resound in another 10 minutes.  The sound of the alarm should bring them out of their daydream and hopefully put them back on track.  Talk about this beforehand so that they understand that this is a reminder system for them.  

This can also be used any time you need your child to remember to do something. For example, when our son is babysitting our younger children, we use it to remind him to check on the kids every ten minutes.    

Color Coded Notebooks

My daughter kept getting her composition notebooks mixed up in class. She had 6, one for each subject. We color coded the sides and bottom of each book a different color using markers. I also gave her a matching color folder for
each book for loose papers. When her books are in her desk, she can grab the one she needs at a quick glance.

submitted by DolphinLove92 

Empty The Basket

Keep a laundry basket by the front door.  Each night your child(ren) fill it with everything they will need the next day.  Keys, bookbags, lunch money, wallet, projects, gloves, hats etc.  Each morning the basket should be completely empty.  Make sure you fill it the night before, when each child has time to think about everything they might need the next day.    

Online Organization

Use an online organization/reminder service and have your child receive email notifications when a project is due, a test is coming up.  Have a copy sent to you so you can also be reminded of school work, meetings with teachers, etc.  Have it become a learning project with the computer and work together to set up the calendar options, email settings etc.

Colored Coded Folders

To help with organizing school work, we bought different color folders. Each subject was assigned a color and all papers for that subject were to be placed in the appropriate folder.  It would help to keep the papers organized and when looking for a particular paper he would only need to search in one place.

All The Many School Papers

Do your house become overwhelmed with the number of papers that come home from school. Children love to hang on to each paper they completed.  Find decorative boxes, one for each child (decorative boxes can be found in many discount stores these days).  Have each child put all of their schoolwork in their box.  Once the box is full, go through it with your child, choosing some papers from each month of the year, place them in a binder and throw the rest away.  The binder should not take up much room in the box so they can once again to save all their papers.

Things To Do List

As adults, many of us use things to do lists all the time and with a vengeance.  However, our children do not yet know the value of that small piece of paper 9not to mention they won't be able to find the list a few minutes after writing it!)

For my teenage son, who no longer requires (or wants) help with homework, there seems to be less time to help with organization of schoolwork.  Each night, we set aside a few minutes to talk about schoolwork, classes and what needs to be done.  This information, along with the feedback that I receive from the teachers, is combined into a "Things To Do List" He has a small notebook that fits in his pocket and is used for nothing else besides that list.  Each night, he can review today's list, make sure he completed what he needed to or add those items on tomorrows list. 

Homework Tickets

For each school subject, make a "ticket" from a piece of colored paper.  Use a different color for each subject.  Keep all tickets in the inside of the school binder.  As they receive their homework, they take the ticket for that subject and put it in the front pocket of the binder.  (Ours had a clear plastic covering on the front that he could slide it in). At the end of the day, all they need to do is look at which tickets are in the front to see what books to bring home to do homework.

Break It Down

For large homework assignment and projects, break the assignment down into little pieces.  Make up a calendar and on each day write down the pieces that are to be done that day.  Make sure you give your child one calendar and you have a copy for yourself.  Your child can follow the calendar to complete the project and you can check up each day to see if they are keeping up.

Carrying Extra Pens

My son's teachers were forever telling me that he was not prepared for class, meaning specifically, he never had a pen or pencil with him.  I choose my battles carefully and try not to be picky about everything, therefore, I chose to ignore the importance of hanging on to a pen all day long and began sending 3-4 pens a day with him, so that one was lost, another was available.  For the price of a box of pens a month, I helped him to be more prepared and was able to concentrate on more important developmental goals.

Break It Down Again

For daily homework, you can break it into pieces and set a time limit for each piece. For example, "I want to see these 10 math problems done in one half hour."  Set the timer.  Continue to monitor and set additional limits as needed. Do not yell if not completed, as that will only serve to cause anxiety and wasted time.  Keep calm and work with your child. You will be able to judge how long assignments will take after using this for a few days.