School is a struggle for most children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. One reason: about half of AD/HD kids also have a related learning disability - such as dyslexia or impaired auditory processing. Also, traditional classrooms are not "ADD-friendly;" the curriculum, teaching methods, physical environment, and rules make ADD-related problems seem worse, not better.
The solution, say experts, is multi-dimensional and requires parent-teacher cooperation and understanding.
Here's what ADDitude Magazine recommends for AD/HD students who aren't making the grade:
• Arrange for a psycho-educational evaluation. This battery of tests will help determine whether your child has a learning disability in addition to AD/HD.
• While medications help with symptoms of AD/HD, they do not have an impact on learning disabilities. Learning disabilities need to be addressed by learning specialists in the affected areas.
• Know your rights. Children with AD/HD and learning disabilities are entitled to special educational accommodations mandated by federal law. For information on educational rights, contact the National Learning Disabilities Association at www.ldanatl.org
• Communicate with the teacher. Parent-teacher communication is critical to the academic success of AD/HD students. Be proactive. Meet with your child's teacher at the beginning of the year to discuss particular behavior and academic problems and how they can be managed. Don't wait for a problem to arise and make you into adversaries instead of allies. Parent and teacher should correspond daily in writing, if possible.
• Find out what works best. Sometimes, minor classroom modifications will create a better learning environment not just for AD/HD kids, but also for others. In addition, parents are entitled to ask for - and receive - special accommodations that other students don't get - things like lighter homework loads, preferential seating, un-timed tests and note taking help.