Hello friends! If you missed part 1, check it out it out here https://nicoleschlechter.com/adhd-remote-learning/
In our last chat, we spoke about specific strategies you can use right now to help support executive function during remote learning. But for those of you who are just catching up, executive function is the skill set that includes working memory, flexible thinking and self-control.
We need these types of skills to be able to “adult” efficiently.
Deficits in this area can look like trouble focusing, following directions, regulating emotions, planning and organizing tasks, getting distracted in the middle of a task. These skills are not just important for school they are important for employment and independent living too. If you are assigned a project and you lack time management skills, you can’t plan and organize… you probably won’t keep your job!
Organization is a huge part of this!
We spoke about using post it notes, but what about organizing class materials? I love color coding everything. I keep all math red, all ELA blue, Science is green etc. And we keep materials in 1-2 binders. Each subject has a folder to keep loose worksheets, a notebook or loose-leaf if needed and I hole punch anything that is needed. For projects, I hold punch the instructions and keep them separate from the rest of the assignments within the same file. For example everything behind the instructions, goes with the project.
Speaking of organization, we also use a standing file organizer for supplies. My kid’s have giant zip lock bags with dry erase boards, art supplies, math workbooks, manipulative’s and about a million folders with print outs of worksheets. We have asked the teacher provide us with a “supply” list for each day so we know what to have ready and then we organize it in our file organizer in order of what is needed. This helps promote independence, but also prevents the “I can’t find it!” I have multiple kids doing remote learning at once and it also helps me to be able to reach for what they need quickly so I can get back to work or back to helping my other child…. Although, I’m dreaming of a much-needed nap because let’s face it remote learning is hard for us parents too!
So many of our ADHD kiddos need to move to learn.
I had a teacher last year tell me that a student was not ready to learn because their eyes were not focused on the teacher and they were tapping their feet on the floor. The crazy thing is, that this child when allowed to wiggle and doodle, was MORE successful than when we asked him to sit still and look like he’s paying attention. I love offering alternative flexible seating options for kids who need to move, even during remote learning! If your child has an IEP or 504, ask the school to borrow a wobble stool, cushion, kickband etc before you go out and buy any, but I’m also including some links in the blog post for some creative wiggly solutions!
These kids’s ball chair are awesome!
Or a wiggle cushion
Foot Wiggle Blocks
Providing our kids with fidgets or even gum can also help them pay attention and focus. Gum is treat in my house so I use it as motivation when a kiddo really just isn’t feeling it, I offer up some gum!
Sometimes, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to accommodate our ADHD learners, we just need to know what is working at school. This is a great opportunity to reach out to the team to see what works well for your child in school. For example, our kids struggle with working memory. They may need directions repeated or a visual of instructions with the verbal. I like asking the teacher for these things prior to class so my child can anticipate what is coming. Being able to anticipate these types of things also provided them with a little control, and when our kids feel in control, even a little, they are less likely to feel anxious or struggle with challenging behavior. This kind of heads up is great for transitions too! So many times our kids struggle to change gears, especially if they haven’t finished a task. Using a timer and a 5 minute warning allows them to wrap things up so they can move on with out anxiety.
Outlines, rubrics, pre teaching of concepts… all of those things will help our kids manage assignments as they come. Don’t be afraid to ask to try something new. Maybe even before the IEP meeting, hey we are struggling with completing assignments during class, X is having a lot of refusal to work, I think he is overwhelmed. Can you provide we with a task list prior to class so we can get a head start or better understand what is being assigned?
You are your child’s best advocate.
And you have this unique opportunity to see how are kids are learning. Now I’m sure some of you are feeling like… OK I see the problem, but I don’t know the solution! I’m not a teacher.
And that’s OK! It isn’t your job to come up with the answers, but it helps!
I’m doing IEP assessments still and they are discounted again until Friday. During this assessment, I will be taking your expert parent knowledge and turning into special education terms, then reviewing the IEP with YOUR goals and concerns in mind.
Your child should be getting everything they need to be successful.
Not just what is being offered.
Not just what works during a pandemic.
Their IEP should be individualized to meet their unique needs, it’s part of IDEA law! It is their right, and we will work together to make sure we are maximizing progress this year remote learning or not!