After doing all of this wrong myself with my ADHD teenager, here are my top five tips for picking classes in high school for your ADHD child/young adult:
1. Later = better: if your child takes ADHD medications, chances are that first period won’t be their best performance period. Try to steer away from the substantive. P.E. would make a great first period class!
2. Less homework = better: most of us find homework to be the Achille’s Heel of our ADHD kids, so talk to the counselors, other parents, and older kids to identify classes that count homework as the smallest percentage of the final grade.
3. Extra credit = better: your child is going to fail to turn in some assignments. Find teachers that offer extra credit or opportunities for turning late work in for partial credit.
4. Experience = better: identify the teachers with past experience working with neuro-atypical kids. Avoid the teachers that are described as rigid or those that are unknowns.
5. Interesting = better: search for classes/teachers that reward creativity and assign interesting projects. Shy away from teachers that grade on whether kids bring the right materials to class. You’re looking for teachers that can appreciate that your child is an outside the box thinker.
And it sure helps if your child likes the class subject matter, for our easily distracted offspring. I also appreciate a teacher who will communicate with me when s/he sees issues arise.
After all the times Clark has challenged his GPA with atrocious grades, usually due to homework, I like a class that’s an easy 100 occasionally, too :-). Clark just dropped Human Services (a.k.a. sewing), which he hated, for P.E. so he could shoot baskets with his friends. How far I have come that my reaction was, “Yay! Easy 100!”
Last but not least, consider a study hall period, if you can. Homework done in a supervised environment without the distractions at home and the push-pull of the parent-child relationship can be a wonderful thing.
I should have titled this blog, “Everything I wish I’d known three years ago.”
What are your tips for class selection?