Are there schools for ADHD children?
Parents with children who have been diagnosed with ADHD often wonder if it would benefit their child to investigate educational alternatives. Should they look into a Waldorf school, or a strict military school? Are the public schools providing the best possible education for ADHD kids? There are so many things to consider, and in recent years, more and more ADHD schools have been developed, with specialized treatment plans that seem to suit the needs of ADHD kids. How can a parent research these schools, when all of their websites seem to have pictures of smiling children? What should a parent look for to evaluate these schools, and do they really help?
Schools that are strictly for ADD and ADHD often won’t take children with other disorders, and several children with ADD and ADHD have also been diagnosed with other disorders, too. Look for a school that serves the needs of all children, because your child is more than just a disorder; they’re a person whose needs should be evaluated individually, and instead of being treated like “a classic case of ADD” they should be treated like themselves.
Day schools tend to suit the needs of a small percentage of ADD and ADHD children. By using a variety of activities instead of bookwork to teach, and interspersing periods of physical activity, an controlling energy levels through strategic nutritional approaches, these schools manage to help ADD kids succeed academically. Academic success is important, since many of these children are otherwise bright. However, failing to address the behavioral issues makes for increased anxiety and troubles outside of school, where the environment isn’t s controlled.
Alternative // , sometimes called boot camps, have various approaches. The ones that seem to have the most success with ADHD kids are the ones that create individual and personalized learning plans for each child, removing the social aspect from their education completely. Additionally, they offer plenty of opportunities for free play outdoors, and a wide variety of children are serviced at the facility. Other factors that seem to work well are small enrollment (no more than 100 kids) round-the-clock counseling and high expectations, based on the children’s own optimistic goals. Since these programs can be expensive, many schools have scholarship options, private sponsorship opportunities and financial aid packages available.
Other private boarding school take a military approach, with real live drill Sergeants, students responding to a bugle call and even doing push-ups as a consequence for misbehavior. These programs often don’t attempt to meet kids halfway, they staunchly insist that kids conform to strict, high standards and force submission using fear tactics, and public humiliation. While the results are often impressive, and their students end up marching nicely and taking orders well, there’s an undercurrent of anger that many parents find disturbing.
A quality ADHD school should begin with a thorough assessment and an aftercare program designed to help the child transition away from the school after graduation. Family counseling and reinforcement should also be part of the picture. Many parents make the mistake of choosing their neighborhood day school, simply because it’s the most convenient place, but a thorough examination of the offerings and programs at various schools make the choice much easier. A specialty school is often one of the best things you can do for a child. Be sure to choose the very best one available.
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