Strategies for Helping a Child Who Has ADHD or EF Challenges

Executive functioning skills are not often explicitly taught in the classroom – time management, organization, study skills, and self-advocacy being the most common. They are crucial for becoming a successful student. Many children gain capacities for these skills over time, with natural development and maturity. Some students, however, need a high level of support to master these crucial skills.

If your child has ADHD, there is a strong possibility that he or she will need your support and a great deal of explicit instruction to master one or more of these. Below are strategies you can start to implement with your child if he or she has ADHD, or needs help with executive functioning skills. Staying on top of your child’s coursework and repeatedly modeling each task is time-consuming and requires patience. If providing this type of support begins to strain your relationship with your child, it may be helpful to have an Academic Manager work with your child on these skills.

Time Management:

  • Model how to prioritize planning for each assignment, from how to prepare for an assignment, how to do it, and how to turn it in after it’s done
  • Help with long-term planning, goal-setting, and reminders

Organization:

  • Become your child’s organizational coach, modeling appropriate executive functioning in how you help him or her organize the work space, backpack, calendars, filing systems, and folders for turning in assignments

Study Skills:

  • Create study plans for tests, prepare ahead of time, and do a little review each day
  • Help your child take notes while reading

Self-advocacy:

  • Help your child reach out to teachers via email or visiting during office hours
  • Help your child reach out to his or her classmates for help
  • Help your child articulate his or her challenges and strengths, and determine when to ask for help

If you would like to learn more about ADHD, we recommend the book Outside the Box: Rethinking ADD/ADHD in Children and Adults – a Practical Guide by Thomas Brown, PhD. There is a way forward in helping your child who may have EF challenges, and we are here to help!

 

John Posatko, M.A.Ed.

Director of Education