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Preparing a Child with ADHD for Kindergarten

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q: My five-year-old will be starting kindergarten and I'm concerned. She has a problem sitting still and doing what she's told. She takes Ritalin® after breakfast. I'm worried about how she will interact with the other kids. The last time I tried preschool for her, the teacher kicked her out after the second day. I was embarrassed for my daughter. Also, she forgets to go use the bathroom or waits too late, especially when she's playing with friends. What do I do?

A: There are a number of things you can do to help your child make the transition to school.

1. Make an appointment to speak with your daughter's pediatrician or the doctor who is monitoring her medication and explain your concerns. An adjustment in medication may be helpful for her.

2. Call the toll-free number for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders at 1-800-233-4050 or look at their website to see if there is a branch of this group in your community. Ask if there is a social-skills program available where your child might get some direct instruction about how to interact with her peers appropriately. A psychologist or other mental-health professional may be able to guide your child through this process.

3. Make sure your child's teacher knows about your concerns. Work together at preventing problems before they occur. For example, ask your daughter's teacher if she can have your child use the bathroom before she begins a stimulating activity like free play time. I'm sure there are many other children in her class who have similar problems. Enlist the help of other support personnel in the school, including the nurse and guidance counselor, so you can brainstorm together some more proactive strategies to head off problems before they arise.

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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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