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ADHD and co-op


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#1 My4arrows

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:24 PM

I have an ADHD child (currently unmedicated) who is struggling during co-op. There's a lack of attention/focus, talking when not allow d to and some impulsive behavior. We are currently working with our doctors to make a plan for better helping, but for now any ideas of how to help with these issues.

#2 freesia

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:42 PM

Make sure the director and teachers know because it does often inform how the child is responded to (knowing it's ADHD and not just non-compliance makes a difference for many teachers).

 

The best thing would be a one-on-one aid to help him focus and remind him not to interrupt.  He may need instructions repeated for him directly. He needs clear expectations and reachable goals. It doesn't benefit anyone(including him) if he is allowed to disrupt the class, so arrangements for him to leave the class if he needs to are a good idea.

 

I think if you google classroom support for ADHD, you will find some ideas, too.

 

Co-ops are classrooms and kids who would have issues in a classroom will in co-op and most co-op teachers do not have the training to know what to do.  So, once you have a list of helps, it would be good to share it with them.  If you want him to be in a classroom situation without medication, it is possible you may have to attend class with him.  You don't want him in a situation where he constantly fails and frustrates people.


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#3 EmilyGF

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 07:14 PM

I think (depending on how much it impacts him) you'll need to attend with him.

 

I think putting together a list of helps and having a meeting on how to handle it might help.

 

We had a kid with ADHD last year and no one knew how to accommodate him. And it seemed like the parent expected us "teachers" to just handle him, but it always got WAAAAY out of hand. Goodness, I'm just a parent, too, and I don't have a kid like hers.

 

Emily


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#4 HomeAgain

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 06:21 AM

I can give you some ideas from the teacher's point of view:

 

-don't sign up for any lecture/paper style classes.  Save those for home. 

-make sure that any classes are flexible and engaging.  Ones that worked well: art, music, cooking, dance, inventions, yoga....

-keep the number of kids in the class low.  I found that I was at my max at 10 with all of them being squirrely 9-10yos  If you see more than that in a class, the teacher can't give a lion's share of attention to ones who need it most.

-give the more impulsive children something right off.  I had my bouncy kids rearranging furniture, passing out paper, setting up...it got them focused on what we were doing for the day.

-ask for a syllabus.  When kids know what's coming up the next week, you can help them prepare.  I loved the kids who would come in and share their stories and be fully engaged in the subject because they had talked about it at home.

-give them leadership roles if they're not in class.  Some of the bigger children helped out in the nursery eventually taking over and doing a small class of their own.  Other children cooked/served lunches, they swept and wiped down tables...

-when all else fails, it's okay to have a 'find your mama' rule and send the child out if they become disruptive.  Sometimes they are not ready that day and need the 1:1 attention that a parent can give them. 

 

ETA: touch.  Sometimes touch can be very grounding.  I hugged my kids.  I would put a hand on their shoulders to remind them of the task at hand.  Touch can help immensely to refocus.  (and yeah, I still think of all 40 or so kids I taught as mine.  :D  I got to watch them grow and love how they're all turning out)

 

 


Edited by HomeAgain, 05 October 2017 - 06:24 AM.

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#5 whitehawk

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 08:38 AM

If you can give the child an opportunity for heavy exercise right before class, that can help some.

 

I once taught a kid who needed an hour of swimming or running before school and then a sport (I think it was soccer) after school so he could do homework. Every day. And there were still some days when, ten minutes into class, I was like, "Hey, Evan, can you bring this stack of [heavy hardcover] books back to the librarian for me?"



#6 ebrindam

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 03:29 PM

Unfortunately, DD wasn't able to handle any kind of co-op or drop off class until she was medicated.

ETA: Or rather, people couldn't handle her, so we didn't do them. 


Edited by ebrindam, 05 October 2017 - 03:30 PM.


#7 Where's Toto?

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 03:58 PM

We've had similar issues with ds in classes.  Basically, he doesn't do outside classes unless they are super high interests of his.  Even then we've had some teachers that love him, think he's hilarious and brilliant and want him to take their classes again, and we've had teachers who just can't handle him at all.

 

Reminding him of expected behavior right before class (every single time), giving the teacher some strategies (a key word or phrase to cut off the behavior immediately, doodling does a lot to help ds focus), keeping class time relatively short have been the biggest helps.



#8 OhElizabeth

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:23 PM

You might also look into some Social Thinking materials like We Thinkers or Social Detective. 


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#9 OrganicJen

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:12 PM

Unfortunately, DD wasn't able to handle any kind of co-op or drop off class until she was medicated.

ETA: Or rather, people couldn't handle her, so we didn't do them. 

 

This is also true for us.  We haven't medicated so far but part of the consequences of that is he doesn't go to any co-op type class because one of the reasons we pulled him out of public school in the first place was that I could teach him one on one but he just couldn't learn well in a group setting, even small groups, and they didn't know how to teach him effectively.  



#10 nixpix5

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 09:39 AM

This is also true for us. We haven't medicated so far but part of the consequences of that is he doesn't go to any co-op type class because one of the reasons we pulled him out of public school in the first place was that I could teach him one on one but he just couldn't learn well in a group setting, even small groups, and they didn't know how to teach him effectively.


Sounds like one of my little buddies. Right now he is only taking art and piano at our co-op/school. He does fine in piano as it is one on one. I sit next to him in art and take the class with him. I find when I attend with him he does so much better. Group learning is just challenging for distractable and impulsive kids. The unfortunate piece too is that there is a higher than normal proportion of kids with challenges in homeschool environments too which complicates it. As I sit in art I always laugh to myself as half the class has their own quirky ways of approaching the world. It is fun and our teacher is so patient!
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#11 My4arrows

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 07:35 PM

Thanks for all the ideas!  It's also helpful to know I'm not the only one with a kiddo like this.  Some times it's easy to feel like I am.  We will have to see what works best.


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#12 Hilltopmom

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 06:50 PM

Please don’t expect the co op teachers to be special ed teachers.

It’s fine to choose not to medicate your child but realize that untrained parent volunteers may not be able to handle his behavior and it’s not fair to the other kids or teacher if his behavior is disruptive.

I’ve had that kid and I’ve also been the co op teacher (Although I do happen to be a special ed teacher)
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#13 Hilltopmom

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 08:26 PM

Sorry, didn’t mean that to sound so harsh.

#14 Sandwalker

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 08:53 PM

Thanks for all the ideas! It's also helpful to know I'm not the only one with a kiddo like this. Some times it's easy to feel like I am. We will have to see what works best.

My now 28 y.o. ADHD dd was difficult to bring to coops when she was young. We never had her formally diagnosed until 18 y.o. because she has always learned fast and easily (except math), reads incredibly fast and retains it to a ridiculous degree. Since she didn't have social problems or too many issues at home (some fighting with younger brother for a time), and she is very thin, we decided not to get her medicated. This meant I homeschooled. I knew she had ADHD, it was pretty obvious when she was young.

The main thing that helped at coops was to set boundaries while driving there: for dd it was mostly "no talking to the other kids while the teacher is teaching". I always stayed during the classes, helping out the kids, and keeping an eye on dd.

For dd, cutting out dyes in foods helped tremendously (TRIX and other dyed cereals were the WORST, doctors in the '90s told me it didn't make a difference, and NOW they admit it.) I also gave her a supplement called SAF for Kids by Natrol, which was like magic. I could tell by 10AM if she hadn't taken it. Unfortunately, it is not made anymore, but Natrol has other supplements that are similar. DD doesn't take any meds or anything now; she meditates and practices yoga, has a fulltime job and a boyfriend. She tried adderall in college, but didn't like the insomnia, so never pursued other meds.

Long story here!! I guess my point is that I had to stay closely involved in the coops to ensure that dd wasn't distracting other kids or disrupting the classroom. We used the 1,2,3 method of discipline, just getting her attention and holding up one finger usually worked.

Edited by Sandwalker, 09 October 2017 - 08:53 PM.