Tucked safely inside each backpack this September is one essential goal: increased self-confidence.
Self-esteem is an essential component of both academic and social success. In fact, positive self-esteem is both at the root of – and a result of – feeling good about oneself within the context of a successful school experience.
For children and teens with A.D.H.D., however, feeling good about oneself and one’s ability to achieve success can sometimes be elusive.
Challenges with organization, planning, and time management - along with issues with working memory and recall - can ultimately determine the path to success or frustration.
A common misconception is that these behaviors are result of laziness or lack of motivation, yet instead these issues are reflective of deficits in critical cognitive skills, known as executive functions.
It is estimated that up to 98% of children and adolescents with A.D.H.D. may evidence deficits in executive functions.
The conversations (and conflicts!) that we have each night can seem almost identical to the night before, yet consistent effort does not seem to yield concrete results. The result is endless exasperation for parents and child or teen.
What can we do to help, from the very first week of school? A supportive, nurturing approach is key. Let’s tackle each concern one at a time:
1. Impaired sense of time - This can impact both test preparation and timely assignment completion. We can implement the use of timelines, calendars, and other organizational tools. The organized home environment is crucial to success. A work area (in the same place each night) that is clean, organized, quiet, and private – with minimal distractions! – is ideal for a child or adolescent coping with A.D.H.D.
2. Long-range project planning - If your child or adolescent has challenges when planning accurately for long-term projects, (again, due to working memory and recall issues), provide charts or graphic organizers, coach your teen how to plan and prioritize certain tasks, and work together to learn sequencing of steps required for task completion.
3. Knowledge of assignments - Students with executive function deficits can find it challenging to understand the full expectation of each assignment, often getting only “half” of the assignment done, handing it in late, or not at all. Sometimes, he or she may not truly understand what is required, or may lose the assignment directions.
Support your child by suggesting that he or she check-in with a peer, provide coaching in creating a weekly planner, use the district web site to monitor due dates, and keep a planning tool at home. Partner with a qualified learning specialist to help coach and support your child or teen.
4. Timely completion of tasks - Encourage your child or teen to get an early start on assignments, and to work incrementally, so that the project does not become overwhelming, and he or she does not run out of time. Create timelines at home, and model for your child how to plan in advance for long-term projects.
More to follow in our next blog on September 10th about how A.D.H.D. impacts reading comprehension and written expression!
Carolyn Polchinski, M.S.Ed. is a Clinical Professor of Reading and Literacy Education and licensed Learning Specialist based out of Scarsdale. She specializes in supporting children with A.D.H.D. and executive function deficits.
To learn more about the programs she offers, call 914.325.0297 or email Carolyn@ConfidentReaders.com. You can also read .