How parents of kids with ADHD can prepare to teacher conferences
Eleven percent (6 million) of school-aged children across the United States have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and for many parents, the first parent/teacher conference of the school year is a critical time to ensure their child is off to a good start and getting the right support.
The parent/teacher conference can help you better understand how your child is performing in school, and could be key in identifying whether the current ADHD treatment plan and routine you have established are actually working, or if it's time to reassess.
Children with ADHD exhibit symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity.
Although any child can have moments displaying any of these symptoms, children with ADHD experience combinations of all three repeatedly and in a way that is severe enough to have an impact at home, school, or in social situations.
Common behaviors children with ADHD may exhibit at school include squirming or fidgeting in seat, trouble taking turns, daydreaming often, talking too much and making careless mistakes.
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, use the following tips from Dr. Richard Winer, a psychiatrist at North Fulton Psychiatric Care in Roswell, Georgia, to prepare for your child's upcoming parent/teacher conference:
• Note any observations you've noticed about your child's behavior at home, and prepare to discuss them with your child's teacher:
Does your child have trouble organizing him or herself when they get home from school? Do they avoid tasks that require focus, such as completing homework? Do they have a hard time sitting still or being patient?
It is important to acknowledge if your child displays these types of behaviors at home and speak with his or her teacher to see if they display them in the classroom as well.
• Come to the school conference with questions for the teacher already prepared:
Create a list of questions you'd like to ask your child's teacher. For example, is my child having trouble focusing during the day or do they often interrupt class? Is my child completing classwork? If so, how long does it take him or her? Is my child following instructions?
Asking these questions will help to better understand if your child's ADHD treatment might need to be reassessed.
• Be prepared to take notes:
Your child isn't the only one who needs paper and a pencil. Bring a notepad to take down key points you and your child's teacher discuss. You may find some of the examples your teacher shares to be especially relevant at the next appointment with your child's pediatrician or psychiatrist.
• Use the information you gathered to talk about ADHD treatment options with your doctor:
Once you've discussed your child's progress and challenges with their teacher, don't wait to set up a doctor's appointment. Your doctor might be able to help you assess or reassess your child's ADHD medications and you might learn about treatment options you didn't know about yet.
For example, I've been working with Neos Therapeutics to tell people about Adzenys XR-ODT an extended-release orally disintegrating tablet that dissolves in the mouth and is swallowed.
More information about ADHD is also available on the Centers for Disease Control and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder's websites //www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/.