17 Oct

Homework tips for kids who have ADHD

Lisa Williams

Lisa Williams

y name is Lisa Williams. I have been working professonally with children and adults with special needs for 15 years. I have experience with people with Autism, Epilepsy, Cognitive Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Prader Willi Syndrome, and many other diagnoses. I became interested in this field of work at a young age. I have a sister who has a disability. I became her advocate when we were in grade school. I am old enough to remember when children with disabilities went to different schools. I was there when my sister was the first student with a disability to attend our grade school. I was there when the teachers didn't know how to care for her, and I was called out of my class several times a day to tend to her needs. I was there when she fell down the steps at school, and I was there when a ramp was put up to assist her. I think it was that ramp that got me "ramped up" about working in this field. To be in a posiion to effect change for people with disabilities has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I assist families in navigating through the incredibly complex funding systems. In addition to my position as Associate Director for a National company, I am a member of a Disabilty Awareness Work Group that educates the community about people with disabilities. I can't think of a greater way to earn a living!
Lisa Williams

The new school year is in full swing. For a lot of children, homework time is no fun. For children with ADHD, homework can be down-right painful. According to Vicki Siegel in an article published on ADDitudeMag.com, " Homework demands more discipline and consistency than many children with attention deficit disorder can muster." You can make homework time easier for yourself and your child by creating a routine built around three key questions: When? Where? and How?

1. When?

  • Schedule homework for a set time each day. Base this on your childs temperment rather than what is most convenient for yourself. Perhaps he is at his best right after school, or maybe after an hour of down time. Avoid late evening.
  • Be consistent from day to day. If after-school activities interfere with consistency, post a daily plan or weekly calendar that includes homework start times each day.
  • Schedule enough time to complete assignments without rushing.
  • Give advance notice of homework time. This is so important. Children who have ADHD do not easily shift from one activity to another.

2. Where?

  • Help your child select a homework place. Try the kitchen table, where she can spreat out materials. Or perhaps your child would like a desk in the quiet den.
  • Steer clear of proximity to electronics. But if your child concentrates best with soft noise, try some gentle background music.
  • Stay nearby (if possible). Kids with ADHD concentrate better when they know you are near. If your child needs to use the bathroom, remind him to come right back.

3. How?

  • Set up rules. Print a copy of the rules to review with your child. Specify start and finish times, place, when and how long breaks are, and that you will be nearby to help.
  • Help, offer assistance, but do not do the homework for your child.
  • Avoid arguments–calmy refer to the homework rules.
  • Help him start. Make sure your child knows what the assignment is and how to proceed. Offer assistance that matches his learnal style. For a verbal processor, read directions out loud to him. For a visual learner, show him how to use highlighters and colored markers to outline key words and sentences.
  • Keep him going. If your child tries to stop before he is finished, encourage him to go on a bit longer, and remind him there will be a break soon.
  • Give her a break. Kids with ADHD may become fatigued due to distractibility, challenges to concentrating, frustration and restlessness. Help your child recharge by scheduling frequent, short breaks.
  • Review your child’s work when he is finished.
  • Offer praise. Compliment not only the work, but staying on task and focusing. Don’t only praise when the work is finished. Praise the process!
  • Give rewards. This may be a favorite snack or extra playtime.
  • Don’t give up. Homework time can be challenging in any household. Helping your child set a routine and feel good about academic accomplishments will go a long way.
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