Education & Parenting Children with ADD / ADHD

Education & Parenting Children with ADD / ADHD

Education & Parenting Children with ADD / ADHD

by Valorie McGilvra, Certified Teacher and Life Coach

It was 1973 in a Kindergarten classroom located in Upstate NY. A 5-year-old blonde haired, blue-eyed girl (let’s call her Jill) was seated on the carpet next to her new friends. It was just after lunch and her teacher was wiping off the counters with a sponge while her students listened to a story on the record player. Jill was not, however, listening but instead was talking to her friend seated next to her.

Moments later, Jill watched as her teacher hold the sponge over her head to wring it out. Why? To get this little girl to stop talking. Did it work? Well, sort of. Jill did stop talking. She also stopped wanting to go to school each day. She complained of stomach aches.

Over the course of her educational career Jill struggled with talking out of turn, impulsivity, and constant daydreaming (today is a diagnosis of ADD-Attention Deficit Disorder). Teachers would do the “outdated” method of calling her out in front of the class to cause embarrassment. This did wonders for her self-esteem and desire to go to school.

All that negative support, lack of encouragement and understanding about ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder) was always pulling her back from her dreams. But with a determination she managed to change all of that.

She started at a community college, worked full-time until she finally obtained her Journalism Degree from UNT at the age of 27. She worked in public relations until she was 35. Then, after having a child decided to change careers and become a teacher.

You may have guessed that I was that little girl Jill. Today, I try to create a learning environment where kids like Jack and Jill can thrive. I work with parents and teachers providing coaching to educate them on how ADD/ADHD affects the brain and work on strategies for raising and educating an ADD/ADHD child.

A message to Parents:

You do have a wonderful child. But they act differently at school than at home. Teachers have 20 or more students to teach who are unique and learn in so many ways. Many do not have the training or strategies to reach all the children in their class. They do the best with what they have, but if provided with more information and open communication will do even better. Teachers have chosen a career to work with kids every day (in case you thought it was for the pay).  Educators need your help, support and understanding. Tell them about your child, and when you get feedback, please just take it as information to help your child learn. If it is delivered in a way that sounds offensive assumption.

Questions to ask your child:

  • What can you do so you remember the teacher’s directions?
  • Is there another student in class who you could ask to help you?
  • When you have something to say in class, how do you share it?
  • If a thought pops into your head how do you deal with it?
  • When your teacher is teaching what is the hardest thing for you?
  • When you start to think about something else what is something you could do to get back to learning again?

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