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Choosing Classes for a Student with ADD

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My 14-year-old son has mild ADD and has always tested in the 96th percentile. Part of his ADD is a lack of organizational skills. This year we put him in the upper-level classes and he's just squeaking by. His teachers recommend that next year we put him back in regular classes. The school counselor says he could go either way. Any suggestions?

A: Why do you think your son is squeaking by? Is it because he doesn't want to take responsibility for doing his work well? I encourage you to look at this issue outside of his ADD. It sounds as if he has high potential. Good organizational skills are needed at whatever level he is enrolled in, and they must be learned by every student. If you want him to continue to be challenged, enroll him in the level that will teach him these organizational skills. Then, learn everything you can about helping him get organized. The emphasis is on assisting. Do not do it for him.

I would also encourage you to enroll in parenting classes (for parents of children with ADD if available) to learn the tricks of the trade from others who have experienced these kind of problems. If parenting classes aren't available, look for books on the subject at the public library.

As the school year progresses, continue to evaluate and work with your son's teachers and counselors to determine if his placement level is appropriate. Many times children just need time and the opportunity to succeed in a challenging situation in order to know that they really do have control and power over their own learning.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


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