Patient Blogs | ADHD in Children
Navigating the School System When Your Child Has ADHD
photo of empty classroom desks

A student with ADHD faces many struggles in school. Lack of focus and organization, struggling to stay attentive and engaged, lack of impulse control, boredom, and the need for movement may all be real hardships for a student with ADHD. We’ve all known a child who seemed to be in any other world than the classroom or who was known as the kid who talked all the time or couldn’t stay in their seat while the teacher was speaking. Imagine being that child. Imagine hearing the same things all the time:

“Please stay in your seat.”

“Hands to yourself, please.”

“Stay in the line, please.”

“Where is your homework?”

“Oh, you forgot your lunch/backpack/pencil/etc. again?”

Try to put yourself in that child’s shoes. I can easily realize that the child would have low self-esteem, feel dumber than the rest of their peers, or believe that the teacher doesn’t like them. It does take a patient teacher to work with children with ADHD. My children are in high school now, so we’ve dealt with some really wonderful teachers. We’ve also dealt with some teachers who were not as equipped to work with students who have ADHD. Some schools (including the one I work at and the schools my children have attended) try to place our children who have ADHD with appropriate teachers. The right placement can make a world of difference for students.

There are, however, accommodations to help children with ADHD. These accommodations are administered through one of two plans: a 504 plan or an individualized education plan (IEP).  A 504 plan enables accommodations for things like proximity seating, multiple breaks in class, fidgets, etc. An IEP allows for all of that in addition to specialized teaching and instruction based on academic need. An IEP creates goals and objectives and utilizes standards that can be measured. An IEP is updated yearly, and a 504 is updated as needed. Both are legal documents that must be followed by school staff.

I have three children with ADHD. One has an IEP, as he also has learning disabilities and autism, and the other two have 504 plans. If you suspect your child needs additional help, please contact your child’s school to discuss your concerns. As with anything else dealing with ADHD, it is usually a marathon, not a sprint.


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Photo Credit: Tetra Images via Getty Images

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Stephanie Steinmetz

Stephanie Steinmetz

Diagnosed since 2009

Stephanie Steinmetz is a married mom of three children with ADHD and was herself diagnosed with the condition as an adult. She is self-educated in all things autism, ADHD, allergies, and anxiety in children. She loves to travel and loves the beach. She works in the clinic at an elementary school and lives in Florida with her husband, three kids, and three pets. 

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