ADHDIntegrated Support for Elementary, Middle & High School Education
Children with ADHD have difficulty regulating attention, which can make school especially challenging. At McLean School, we not only accept that kids with ADHD have unique minds, but we appreciate them for it. Students with ADHD often have tremendous strengths such as creativity, an ability to hyperfocus, and a natural ability to think out of the box. A biological condition, ADHD presents differently depending on age and stage, as well as setting, situation, and circumstance. As students mature, we help them to integrate their understanding of ADHD and utilize their toolbox of strategies. Some students with ADHD may use a lot of energy to monitor their focus and impulsivity to get through the day; and at McLean, we have strategies and systems in place to help our students be successful. In addition, our school-wide Mindfulness program is highly effective in helping students calm their nervous systems, reduce stress, and increase focus in school and in life.
Our Lower School experts take a deep dive into ADHD. From early warning signs to what parents can do to support their child, along with the tremendous gifts ADHD children posses, this HEADx Talk is a must watch for families wanting to learn more about ADHD.
There are lots of ways we make our classrooms and lessons ADHD-friendly, from “chunking” assignments into more manageable parts to encouraging students to use flexible seating or get out of their seats and move around the classroom, to built in breaks and recess five days a week in our Lower and Middle School as well as PE every day from K-8. Clear directions and predictable routines help to ease the anxiety that often accompanies ADHD and the feeling of being overwhelmed that leads some students to shut down and others to ramp up. Other accommodations among the many we use include: extended time on tests, seating in proximity to instruction in classes with a low student to teacher ratio of 5:1, ability to take breaks when needed, use of fidget tools, teacher or peer notes, graphic organizers, and verbal and visual cues.
In addition to a positive setting, however, we believe the most effective support for children with ADHD in school is connection and understanding. At McLean, students with ADHD succeed because they know we believe in them — and we help them believe in themselves. Our students learn how they learn best, self advocacy skills, and the grit and resilience that will enable them to succeed in college and beyond.