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Book Review: ‘School Success for Kids with ADHD’

So far in our fall book reviews, we’ve introduced two really great books aimed primarily at adults: Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, and Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults. This week, we thought it would be appropriate to shift the focus to parenting ADHD children.

As anyone with children or two eyes knows, parenting is certainly not easy – it is hard work that’s often filled with many mixed emotions and times of both happiness and frustration. As you can imagine, parenting an ADHD child or adolescent can be particularly challenging, exhausting and frustrating. With that knowledge, the best thing any parent can do is arm themselves with the knowledge and strategies to effectively support their child and manage ADHD symptoms.

With that, we introduce ‘School Success for Kids with ADHD,’ by Stephan M. Silverman, Jacqueline S. Iseman, and Sue Jeweler. This book is a clear, easy-to-read guide for parents and teachers on how to support a child with ADHD by recognizing and building on their strengths, and helping them meet their potential. Topics include clear information about what ADHD is and how it may impact a child, how ADHD may present itself at school, information about the role of medication and accommodations, research findings about treatment support, and a ton of strategies.

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To give you an idea of just how many strategies for parents there are available in the book, here are some of the tips that are offered in just one of the chapters in ‘School Success for Kids with ADHD':

      • Avoid comparing your child to other children – address your child’s own strengths and efforts

      • Be sure that supports and accommodations are in place to make learning easier for your child, but ensure that reasonable efforts are still expected.

      • Try to be on the same page as your partner when it comes to child rearing practices, rules and consequences. Sometimes when parental expectations are not aligned, children may learn to passively punish their parents for not effectively communicating by learning to fail or avoid.

      • Reward your child’s accomplishments and successes with lots of praise.

      • Set limitations on phone, computer and television time. Note that children view limits and structure as part of being loved, so set some clear limits in the child’s life.

      • Create a “To Do” list to post inside the child’s bedroom door with a check-off system.

      • Model the values and behaviours you expect from your children.

      • Communicate openly with your child on a daily basis and allow every opportunity for self-expression.

      • Encourage the discussion of problems and frustration both at home and in school.

      • Establish good communicative relationships with your child’s teachers and anyone who works with your child.

      • Break up homework time with energy breaks, such as exercise, snacks, or playing.

      • Encourage extra-curricular activities such as swimming, track, or karate.

While it can be easy to get bogged down by too many potential strategies – and yes, some of these tips are somewhat intuitive – the important message to take from this book is that parents play an incredible role in helping their children grow into the world. The efforts, perseverance and support of parents are certainly commendable. However, parents need to ask for help as well. No parent can do it alone, and with the extra complications that come with parenting an ADHD child it is more important than ever to seek support from whatever supports are available.

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