hello I am new to this community and accidentally found this resource while doing research for better parenting techniques and advice for dealing with a child with ADHD. My son who will be 9 in a few days, has had his ADHD diagnosis since right before COVID shut down (January 2020) by a psychiatrist specialist at his pediatrician’s office, during that school year which was his kindergarten year, I noticed a sudden highlight of behaviors like being impulsive, not staying on task, forgetfulness and inability to take on his daily routines and this consistent throughout the entire school year. Prior to him beginning Kindergarten I did notice his excessive activity and lack of ability to concentrate on conversations, but initially chalked it up to his young age. During covid shut down, his school remained close for in person learning throughout both his first grade school year, but a pretty good portion of second grade as well as online and staggered in person learning. Because of his being at home, I was able to successfully manage him and stay on top of him with his schooling because I was lucky enough to be working from home and juggled being a full time worker, as well as teacher. However, now that he is in the third grade and has fully gotten back into full time in person learning, I immediately began seeing regression in his progress. Now that he was in a classroom with over 25 kids and a teacher spread thin and no constant one on one supervision like I provided him in his home schooling, he began slipping. He has particularly struggling with focusing on lessons, completing tasks (I have even gotten notes home that he will sit and his desk for the entire work time and not pick up the pencil even once) and he prioritizes socializing with his friends, over school work. After the first marking period I jumped immediately to get him back on track and met with his school counselor and principal and set him up with a 504 (IEP) plan. Unfortunately his progress even with his accommodations in place have been a slow burn to say the least. We just finished out marking period two and completed parent teacher conferences, and once again, little to no progress made. I cut my losses and made the decision in mid February to finally get him medication. This is has been a very brand new process for us, and we have a follow up meeting with his pediatrician next week to go over any symptoms or concerns related to dosage and so far I can say we are having more good days than before, but definitely not where we should be.
A few parenting techniques I have implemented personally thus far, has been working to create a routine, He goes to school every day with a reminder of exactly what he is supposed to do (like turn in homework, and I even leave him notes on his folder- or make sure to bring home his laptop charger) because he always seems to forget every day even though we have been doing it over and over again every single day. When he comes home it is the same thing every day, must complete all homework first, bed time/dinner time/bath time exactly the same every night.
Also, a reward and take system. Since getting him on his IEP one of his accommodations is that I get a composition notebook sent home to me every single day with a throughout note on his behaviors throughout the school day and when he arrives home each day, he earns the right to do extracurriculars like video games, or time on phone, etc. I find that he works a lot better when he is working towards a goal. I also implement this at home as well. I set up a monetary exchange for him, when he completes at home tasks like a chore, he is award with a “mom bucks” (which is essentially Monopoly money) and it can be exchanged for costs of goods. I keep a selection of snacks in my pantry that have set prices on them (like $10 mom bucks for the cost of one bag of chips) and I keep him motivated to take pride in cleaning and organizing his room.
If anybody is going through or has experienced a similar situation with a child and has any advice or words of encouragement for me I would really appreciate all the help I can get.
Thank you 🙏🏻
You are doing great. It’s is amazing that your son responds to behavioural strategies that you are using with him.
Write more about the bad days so we are not all so jealous that your techniques work so well. I am joking!
For my son what I noticed that rewards have to be
So let’s say if he did well in his home maths tuition immediately he is praised and told that he has earn football cards etc.
Now I am making sure this also happens at swimming- so yesterday after swimming his coach gave him high five and verbally praised him.
Sadly this doesn’t happen routinely, I had to sit in the session and watch to have this ‘effort’ from his coach. Also during the lesson I kept giving my son thumbs up and telling him he’s doing great.
I had to start doing this intervention because otherwise for months now my son has not progressed. The coach uses my son’s ADHD and dyspraxia as an excuse to just not really coach even though we are paying a lot of money for these lessons.
Yesterday before lesson I had a chat with the coach and he said, oh you know, kids like your son, maybe he just can’t do it. And I replied ‘Well, with the right encouragement and coaching he has been ‘player of the day’ twice recently in his football club and he’s also doing well in indoors cricket nets to get ready for the summer season.
Coach looked at me in disbelief and asked quite insensitively and I’d say it just showed all the way what he thinks about my son ‘Oh, really, is he able to catch and throw?’ And I said that indeed, because he is practicing in the garden even in winter, even with ADHD and dyspraxia he can now catch and throw and bat! Probably what helps is that my husband did a coaching course and became a cricket coach at our local club.
Why am I writing it?
Because coaches and teachers instead of using our children’s disability to help them teach our children better by making small adjustments (for example making that effort of praising ADHD child more frequently even for things that with other kids they take for granted and don’t have to praise, like ‘good listening today’ etc, and making sure the child listens and follows instruction during the lesson which yes, is maybe for typical child nothing to praise but for ADHD child that’s an effort and should be praised), well, instead they use this information that the child has ADHD or dyspraxia etc to make excuse for them being bad at their job as a coach or teacher.
It just was sooo disappointing for me to have coach saying what he said about my son yesterday and as I sat in the lesson and he noticed that my son can actually do all the stuff he asks him to do, he didn’t even look at me when we were leaving the session.
I wish I could change the venue and the coach for my son’s swimming lessons, somewhere where no one would know that he has dyspraxia and prejudice about what he is able to learn or rather that he is disabled and there is no point. Sadly this venue is so convenient for us, 5 minutes walk from home😄So what I will carry on doing is sitting in the lesson from now on and doing motivational coaching for myself son. Plus it’s a fact- when I watch the session, coach tries harder to actually teach the kids. If I don’t sit on the session and look through the glass windows- coach is chatting with the life guard and can’t care less what kids do (maybe coach has ADHD too? 😂).
Firstly, thank you very much for your reassuring words. It has taken me a long time to figure out what works best with my son and schedules/reward systems are such a personal experience that I think should be tailored different for every child. What works good for me, might not for other parents/children and vise versa. I actually found out through potty training how responsive he was for encouragement and rewards and I began implementing that into our routine since then. Trust me, there are MANY bad days, although I can say I have a much easier time with him doing things at home like cleaning his room for example- school and homework on the other hand, I still am STRUGGLING so much with him on. That in it’s self has been such an uphill battle. Even with him being recently medicated (now mind you this is brand new and he is currently on the lowest dosage) by the time he comes home from school and is ready to do homework I can’t get him to sit still and focus. I find myself re-directing him SEVERAL times, he completely drifts away from me while I’m sitting with him reading instructions to help him understand his homework.
***This is gonna be super personal and I’m gonna give a trigger warning for this small part***My son has actually been through some recent trauma, my ex and I have been split up since he was about 2 years old and since then we have been sharing 50/50 custody up until last year. My ex (even though he struggled through ADHD as a kid) has zero patience and understanding for our son and coupled with his own personal issues (anger/impulsive) began secretly abusing (both physically and mentally) and would terrorize my son into keeping it from me. This went on for months until I found physical evidence of the abuse and took action immediately. I got full emergency custody, a PFA against my ex for my son and began working to try my best to help my son recover from this trauma in any way I could. He has been seeing a therapist on a weekly basis for a few months now (recommend to me by the Child Advocate Center) to deal with his traumas relating to his father, as well as he’ll guide him through his thoughts and feelings, as well as adjusting to life with ADHD. His therapist has been very helpful, but I know we have a long road a head of us. Most days I feel like I’m taking on water in a boat, I’m giving it all I got and doing every single thing I’m supposed to be doing, but I can only make as much progress as my son will allow me to.
Secondly, that is absolutely horrible and I’m honestly disgusting and disappointed in that coach. When you have a career where you work one on one with children, in my personal opinion, it should be REQUIRED to have some sort of sensitivity training when it comes to handling children who have mental and physical disabilities. To rule a child out right out of the gate and go into handling them with preconceived notions that the child “cannot” is harmful. Children can do anything they set their minds to, and the ENTIRE POINT of a coaching job is to unlock the abilities and encourage children to try their best and work hard to accomplish things in their respective sport/activities. I am so sorry that you, and your son are experiencing these issues. You are doing an amazing job at being your child’s best support system and advocate. That is very very important when it comes to dealing with any child, but especially children with disabilities. Continue being there for him and encouraging him every step up the way, I believe in you and I believe in your son ❤️