Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: When do we complete homework with the ADHD child?

By Kara Tamanini (Author and Therapist)

Parents often tell me that completing homework with their ADHD child is often a great challenge and causes a lot of frustration. Children usually by the time they get home are tired and simply want a “break” from their work and want to play or “chill out” and watch television. However, homework still has to be done and parents usually wait until late afternoon or night to complete homework. Inevitably, children procrastinate and “fight” their parents every inch of the way in completing their homework. By the time the homework is completed, everyone including the child are usually angry and frustrated and homework took a very long time as the parent tries to cajole their child to complete the work.

As a rule, children with ADHD seem to do better on schoolwork in the mornings, more often than children without ADHD. What this means exactly is that school work and/or homework should be completed earlier in the day or even some of the homework should be completed in the morning if possible. Tasks for children that are boring, repetitive, or that take sustained attention/concentration should be done earlier if possible. By the end of the day, children are usually tired; fatigued and if parents decide to complete homework late in the day, problems are sure to ensue and the work will most likely not be completed.

Therefore, a homework schedule should be implemented that includes part or the entire school work load to be completed in the morning. Also, when homework is completed with your child, it should be done in a quiet setting with no distractions. This means that the radio, television, and the noise from video games must be turned off. Children with ADHD are easily distracted and the less distractors for them when they are trying to complete their schoolwork the better. In addition, homework should be completed on a 1:1 basis. Children with ADHD do not do well in group situations where they are able to become over-stimulated and if possible homework should be done alone, just you and your child where individualized attention can be given.
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