ADD or ADHD, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a biological condition that affects about 3-5% of children. Approximately half of children with ADHD will continue to manifest symptoms of ADHD in adulthood, which include distractibility, inattentiveness, and, in some cases, hyperactivity. There are hyperactive and inattentive forms of the disorder.
While scientists are still unraveling the causes of ADHD, twin and other studies suggest that there is a heritable or genetic component to the disorder, as it is more prevalent among the family members of a person with ADHD. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls, though the ratio of males to females with ADHD evens out as people get older.
Handling the symptoms of ADHD can be a life-long situation, and, while many adults with ADHD can find a niche in which they can be successful and marshal their talents, the disorder can often present complications for students. Schoolwork, particularly in challenging private schools, requires students to be organized and attentive, and therefore the core symptoms of ADHD can complicate students’ work, even when they are bright and talented. Fortunately, ADHD coaches and others have developed programs to help students. Here are some strategies that students with ADHD can use to stay on track and achieve results commensurate with their potential.
ADHD coaches are trained to help students with this disorder. They help students develop customized strategies to work with the main complications that ADHD poses for their work, including inattention, inability to stay on task, trouble setting goals, and difficulty organizing their schedules. In addition, a tutor who is trained or experienced with students with ADHD can also help students learn how to break down assignments into smaller tasks and achieve them on time. While this type of scheduling may be natural or easy for other students, children with ADHD tend to struggle to understand how to complete long-term projects. A coach or tutor can also help students develop organizational systems to stay on track.
Accommodations for Students with ADHD
Students with ADHD may require accommodations, or changes in the school’s curriculum, to succeed. While private schools that do not receive federal funding are not required under the Individuals with Disabilities Act to grant accommodations or to grant IEPs, or Individual Educational Programs, private schools will often grant students accommodations, such as extra time on tests. Parents need to show the school an evaluation conducted by a professional in order to request accommodations, which depend on the discretion and decision-making process of each private school.
Helping Kids Understand ADHD
As part of their maturation process, children with ADHD need to start to understand what it means to live with ADHD as a child or as a teenager. Often, if children or teenagers understand how ADHD affects them, they begin to feel better and understand that their erratic or often poor school performance tends to result from their disorder, not from lack of intelligence. In addition, if they begin to understand the core symptoms of the disorder, they can begin to develop better, more customized strategies for understanding how to handle it. They should understand that ADHD can often be a life-long situation, so they will need to develop strategies that will serve them in school and possibly in college or the work world. They may also be helped by knowing that many famous and successful people have ADHD, including athletes, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and even presidents, have had ADHD. In fact, ADHD may often confer creativity and innovation, and students with this disorder can be successful if they learn strategies to handle their work and find areas in which they excel.