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You are HERE >>  Learning Disabilities : ADD/ADHD : 
Target Audience : Parents and Educators with ADD/ADHD children 

  10 Steps to Higher Grades for Your ADD Child 
by Katherine West
September 18, 2000 

Copyright Caitlin Moneypenny-Cole 2000
Copyright Caitlin Moneypenny-Cole 2000

*** This graphic was done by my thirteen-year-old who usually claims that she can't draw. She recently discovered that computer graphics are fun, giving her a realease for her artistic expression. I have been encouraging her to try new things. This is one of them. Since this looks like a puzzle that has been solved, I thought it might compliment this article. In many ways ADD/ADHD is a puzzle - one that can have multiple solutions.

Setting up an IEP (individualized education plan) for your child is done in cooperation with their school and teachers, unless you are a parent who home schools. To do this, your child must have some sort of learning disability. Let's face it, we would not need to do this unless there was a reason. Keep in mind that many of these ideas can be used at home even if your child does not have ADD. If your child is having trouble in school, the first step is getting a diagnosis from a trained professional. Many times, the teacher is the first one to notice these problems.

You can not simply depend on teachers who tell you that your child may be ADD, though. Too many times a parent takes the child to their family doctor, explaining what the teacher said. He or she prescribes medication. No, you must have a battery of psychological tests and even physical tests done. There are many medical problems that can mimic the symptoms of ADD or ADHD.

Lead poisoning is just one thing that can make a normal child act like an ADD child. Hyperthyroidism is another disorder that can be responsible for the misdiagnosis of ADHD in a child. Many psychological problems can be misconstrued as ADD behavior too. If your family physician doesn't suggest a specialist, you should! Always get a second opinion from a psychologist and even a third opinion from a neurologist. Only after the tests are confirmed should you even consider drug therapy or classroom interventions.

If your child is diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, research the disorder. Do searches about it on the Internet. Go to seminars on ADD/ADHD. Read everything that you can get your hands on about this disorder. It is also a good idea to get your child into some type of therapy that teaches him or her how to deal with their impulsive behavior. You will learn so much from interacting with the child's counselor. Ask questions and ideas of them. Remember that knowledge is power. It is much harder for school administrators to bully an educated parent. You expect your children to do their homework, right? Well, do yours!

10 Steps to Creating an IEP
(Individualized Educational Plan)

1. Ask the doctors, educators, and psychologists many questions about ADD, and have them explain practical classroom strategies. These should be customized to your child's needs.

2. Meet with your child's teacher and also the principal. Share your fears and views with them. Ask for an IEP. The parent is usually present when completing this plan.

3. It is also a good idea to request that the school psychologist and the director of special needs or special education also be present at this meeting or subsequent meetings with the school.

4. At the meeting, focus on your child's strengths, while exploring his or her weaknesses.

a. If your child is verbal, ask about verbal testing.
b. If your child has problems with sloppy handwriting, ask if your child can type out writing assignments on the computer.

5. Give the teachers and administrators ideas. Tell them what successes that your child has had with learning. Tell them what your child enjoys and what works for him or her.

6. Tell your child's teachers just how bright he or she is. Instruct them to expect excellence from your child.

7. After the meeting, check with your child on the specific interventions. Ask him or her if the teacher is doing these things.

8. Many times, schools just talk. Too many times they do not follow through with the IEP. A parent must follow up with the school several times throughout the year. Be persistent. Be stubborn. Be a pain even. This is your child's education!

9. Schedule conferences with your child's teacher even if the teacher does not request the meeting.

10. Create open communication between you and the school. Sometimes this can be difficult due to the persistence that we must display, but it can be done. 

I hope that this article not only gave you the information that you need to help your child's education be a success, but has that it has also inspired you to change a few things. Remember to get the facts and demand a change! Good luck.

Submitted by:  Copyright © Katherine T. West  is an editor and columnist at Readers Niche. She is in charge of the Writers Niche section. Katherine believes that there is nothing more satisfying than feedback from people moved by what she writes. Helping people to look at the world in a fresher way is one of her goals. She believes that a writer can change the world one letter at a time. Read more of her articles at The Education Haven Jot a note to Katherine West

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