Should I tell teachers that my child has ADHD? I am afraid that he/she will be labeled.

Uncategorized Oct 11, 2018

I completely understand this concern, as I shared the concern when my daughter was in her early elementary years.   I remember being anxious about the start of each new school year.  I knew that within a couple of weeks, I would hear one of two things from the teacher.   “I love having your daughter in class.  She is so enthusiastic and has so much to add to discussions, etc.”   or “She can’t stay in her seat, and if she is sitting, she rocks in the chair and tumps it over at least once a day.   She shouts out answers.  Her desk is a disorganized mess, etc.”  Of course, I dreaded having the teacher that only saw her “negative” characteristics.   But once I got a report like this, and I would meet with teachers, I realized that the teacher was just frustrated and looking for answers.    I knew my child well, and had many suggestions to offer.   As a mama lion, I never liked hearing anything but the good stuff about my child, but I also realized that my willingness to work with the teacher was probably the biggest factor that would determine how well that school year went for my daughter.    I learned to go in with a list of written suggestions for each of the situations the teacher described.   I would suggest a daily check-in, at least for a while, and even offer to provide an easy form for the teacher to complete and send home daily if he/she did not already have one that they used with other children.   I was always able to form a good working relationship with the teacher so that my daughter could be successful.   It was not until she was in 4th grade that I realized it was a mistake to wait until the teacher initiated discussions about negative behavior.   Would it not make more sense to be proactive and let the teacher know where she had struggled in the past, strategies that had worked for her, etc so that we got off to the right foot on day 1?   

I can also tell you, as an educator, that when other teachers have asked me about a student that I’ve had in the past, and I had a good working relationship with the parents, that is the first piece of information that I shared.    In short, the answer is “Yes.”    Set up a meeting before the school year begins and share information about your child’s strengths and weaknesses.   I can almost guarantee that the school year will be go more smoothly for you, your child, and your child’s teacher.   

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