ADHD Parents Together
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Tutoring for ADHD child - Am I wasting my time and money?

After several years of low grades and lack of progress in school, I finally decided to get my 11 y.o. son with ADHD into tutoring. Does anyone have experience or advice on the effectiveness of tutoring? Is it effective for children with ADHD and slight learning delays or am I wasting time and money?

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I think it depends on the tutor, and if they are willing to think outside the box for these types of kids to learn. My son has had the same tutor for 3 yrs. last year he saw her 2 times a week. I couldn’t swing that this year. I also have her continuing during summer months. They have a great relationship, and she is always helping him learn in different ways, and she’s very patient. She instills confidence. My son is reading awesome now! He’s doing better in math as well. I think it’s totally worth the investment.

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Thank you for the reassurance Marie.

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Janice- look for someone patient and with some skills working with a student with ADHD. A student pursuing higher education in education, psychology ... personally we sacrifice to send my son to private school and he is exhausting every single day, homework takes the patience of Jobe every single time. I came to CHADD to find support resources and training ... I am an older parent and am exhausted and isolated. At least I don’t feel so alone knowing others are experiencing similar problems...

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He's currently in a program that runs 4 days a week for 2 hours each day. My son seems exhausted when I pick him up from tutoring. I feel so bad that his entire day from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. is all about school work. He really has no extracurricular activities because of this. I have cancelled sports and choir rehearsal. I am also an older parent and feel the same way you do. You are not alone.

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I don't think so! My 13 year old was just diagnosed this summer after a battery of tests that show she has big gaps, especially with her math ability. I believe this started when school actually started getting serious - like late elementary school. She's now in algebra and can't do long division. She currently has a solid A. However, once it gets hard, or requires a couple steps, I know there's no way she'll maintain. Then she'll struggle, create more gaps, hate math, blah blah blah and we haven't even started high school. I have a great tutor who has been working with her for a month. I asked him to work through homework but as he finds gaps, to work on that as well b/c I know they're there. I've accpeted this as part of the cost of activities for the year. We'll keep him all year even if she maintains the A (which I sort of doubt). She says she does like having a tutor, so it MUST be helpful. I also think it must be good to feel in command of things when school can just be hard and make you feel bad.

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Hi Wendy, thanks for sharing. My son has all of these same concerns. I wish I could do more for him but don't have the time or resources since I am a single mom and work 2 jobs. I hope your little one improves!!

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One more thought on this. This past week, my daughter had no homework. The tutor ended up teaching her something new that she ended up learning well. I suspect she may not remember but I did think that even getting the preview will make the actual learning of it later easier.

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Let me share my experience. My son is in Grade 2 now. He struggles in math and it came to the point that parent-child relationship was collapsing due to lots of fight over math work. I didn't know what else to get him understand simple addition when he was in grade 1. I tried with one tutoring agency and stayed with this university student (mature adult very gentle personality) but I felt that he is not the kind of tutor that I was looking for as he is not a teacher and didn't have teaching plan. I basically had to tell him what to do with my son. Then I found another non-profit organization that has ONLY certified teachers. Then I switched to current tutor. She is the one that I was looking for!!

I'm glad that I found her. She brings materials and has teaching plan every time. She knows exactly what to do with him!

I don't think it would be wasting your money / time to invest in tutoring. You just have to find the right one. My son is improving in math and having her helped parent-child relationship. Tutoring definitely reduced tense between us.

I recommend hiring an actual teacher who has experience with ADHD student or special needs in general also experience teaching your son's grade. And have a chat with a couple of tutors before hiring. You know who sounds like a good fit with your son. Good luck!

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I couldn’t agree more! My sons tutor is also a teacher. She keeps it fun, she comes prepared with games that go with what he is trying to learn. It’s helped take some of the pressure of me. You have to find the right one! We both love Mrs. Kniffen, honestly don’t know where we’d be with out her.

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Thanks for the advice!

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Hi Adam, this is a great suggestion. We have just begun the tutoring this week. I will see how things go and hope for the best.

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Janice_H- Great question.. We have used Kumon and Huntington learning center. These are large corporate tutoring centers for long term learning. Looking back, I can't say that it as a waste, but I think it just pushed him to avoid the work as much as possbile ( hiding work, arguing about doing anything, etc..)

I think if I were to do it again I would see what the school could offer and work the material he is using in the classroom, maybe even a preview of what's coming in school, not random curriculum that is not related to current school work.

Hope this helps.

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Such great advice and much to think about. My son was also hiding work, throwing out work, not bringing the work home and arguing at homework time. It was so stressful and hectic every night.

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Have been there, it was not worth (for us) the stress for that type of long term tutoring. He now just does school which is also not good. It's really hard when you want the best and they don't see that.

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For my 12 yo, we use one through the school for math, another to get homework sorted at the house (she drives him home as well). We could not do it without. My son stays with A's and B's with the extra assistance.

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That's wonderful!!! I'm so happy to hear of your child's success with the tutor. Thanks for sharing

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Sorry Janice_H, i don't have an answer for you; but I am following. I have a 2nd grader she just turned 8 with ADHD Combined, OCD, ODD, Anxiety-NOS and some Sensory issues. She is in regular class but she is having difficult doing the work. She has never done home work, the school doesn't seem to care about that. She says that she can add to 10 but anything else is too hard and she doesn't do it. She wont wright for her teacher eirhet. Right now she has a very low B almost C in English and very low D almost F in Math for the 1st quarter which ends this Friday. Them grades might change a little. I am new to all this I am older pushing 50 and already raised 2 older daughters, 1 did college and now an Orchestra Teacher and the other is in her 2nd year of college (still trying to figure out what she wants to do). Both were great at math and school in general. They both were procrastinators but got the work done and good grades.(They are 1st to go to college on both sides so proud) It just hurts me to see Kianna struggle sooo much and gives up and gets so defiant over anything she doesn't understand.

Question: is math just in general hard for ADHDkids to master? Maybe because of all the steps that they do today? The do it a totally different and weird way (to me).

Good luck and hope you find something or someone to help your child.

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Yes Math is difficult for children with ADHD. Math requires memory, ability to recall various steps in computation and attention to detail. Most kids struggle for these reasons. I agree with Math being very different than the way we learned it. I will write to you separately about the remainder of your post.

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Thanks, I figured so since I have seen so many posts about math trouble.

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Tutoring is working great for my son Who is Now 11yrs old. We started 2 yrs ago and we hired a high school kid ( a friends' son) and he is very good with my son. And my son loves to do homework with him.

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Having a tutor really worked for my son in English last year when he did his GCSEs. At one stage I thought he wouldn’t get one GCSE and ended up with 9!!! Homework was a problem from day 1 of school which is what 1st alerted me that there was something wrong. It wasn’t that he just couldn’t be bothered he just physically couldn’t do it and couldn’t bare to be placed in that level of discomfort. Homework was a nightmare it used to stress me out, I used to dread him coming home because of it, at one point his brother and I were doing his homework for him! When he was 8 he wrote to me whilst at school asking me to take him away. In his mock SATs he only wrote 2 lines, in Year 7 he said he would never make anything of his life because his teacher had told him he was lazy and stupid and didn’t believe anything was wrong with him ( school got rid of her!) . We got him a tutor for English and that started to give him the self belief that he was missing. It gave him the one to one attention that he really needed and since he knew it cost a lot of money he tried very hard in the hour that he was there. Essentially it was an hour a week he had of English revision for 2 years that he wouldn’t have done otherwise and he wouldn’t have done with me. He was the 1st year to sit the new style GCSEs but got a 4 in English Lang and a 6!!! in English Lit.

I think it depends on the child as to whether Maths is harder than English. In my experience a lot of the problem is short term memory- thus for maths timestables were a nightmare but then suddenly after time they went into his long term memory and he became better at remembering them than me, really helping with the maths! English was very hard because he couldn’t remember what it was he wanted to write as he physically wrote!

He has now just started his 2nd year at college learning Electrical Installation and says he’s definitely made the right choice.

I would say get a tutor if nothing else to build back up their self esteem. Children with ADHD are intelligent children, they tend to have friends in the top sets, they know that there is something different about them when it comes to schoolwork and unfortunately for the 1st 16 years or so of their lives they can’t escape it. It’s a no wonder that their self esteem is affected so if they start to realise that they are not lazy, thick or stupid this gives them the impetus to actually try and when praised this in particular spurs them on!

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Your story is so encouraging to me.

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