Partnering with the teacher when your child has AD/HD

Expert strategies for working with your child's teacher on an effective classroom plan.

Your child needs her teacher's support for the school year to go well. To ensure a committed ally in the classroom, be in touch early and often.

Write to the teacher before the year starts.

Explain how ADHD affects behavior and learning, and describe classroom strategies that have helped your child in the past. Strike a respectful tone, and express your interest in working together.

Meet with the teacher during the first month of school.

Use this time to share information and to learn the classroom routine. How are transitions handled? Are there opportunities to move around? Inquire about classroom rules and consequences. This is also the time to assess the teacher's knowledge of the disorder. Ask how she's worked with ADDers in the past, and offer information.

State your child's goals for the year — better grades, for example — and talk about her interests. Suggest specific measures that might help your child in terms of motivation, discipline, and structure.

Set up a system of regular communication.

Keep the teacher informed about educational assessments or family situations. Whatever the format — daily e-mails, weekly phone calls, or informal chats — show that

you value his time by keeping your communications brief.

Stay positive and show your appreciation.

When discussing problems with the teacher, focus on solutions and steer clear of blame.

Volunteer to tutor students who need reading help or to run a class project, to free up the teacher's time a bit.

Provide updates.

Keep all school professionals, tutors, sports coaches, and others who work with your child up-to-date on his progress. If problems arise, solicit their ideas.

Special note

This article was written for parents of children with ADHD, but the tips on parent-teacher communication can be easily adapted to fit any child or any learning difficulty.

Reprinted with permission from ADDitude Magazine. All rights reserved. See www.additudemag.com for more articles like this one.