When to Consider Hiring a Tutor for a Child with ADHD

18 07 2017

With tremendous appreciation and credit given to: Janice (“Jan”) Miller, guest contributor (Check out her website, “Safety Today.”)

Tutoring sessions are beneficial for all children, but can be especially helpful for those with a learning disorder, such as dyslexia, ADHD, or a visual processing disorder. These children typically put in extra work to stay on the same academic track as their peers. Fortunately, tutors can give the additional time and attention needed for ADHD children to master subjects and establish good study habits. “A specialized tutor can present information in a way that’s easier for a child with a learning disability to understand, which can then make school less difficult and more enjoyable,” says Parents.com’s article 6 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor by Mali Anderson. So how do you know if your child needs a tutor?

Grades and Time Management

Declining grades are often the most obvious sign that a child needs a tutor. The decline may be gradual or sudden. If you notice a change, speak with your child’s teacher, who can tell you if your child is having difficulty with certain concepts or subjects or if your child is having difficulty staying focused in class. A tutor can help your child regardless of the underlying issue.

Poor time management is another sign. An occasional delay is to be expected, but if your child consistently procrastinates and ignores repeated reminders, there could be a problem. When a child puts off projects and postpones homework, he or she may eventually fall too far behind and won’t be able to keep up as workloads increase, so it’s important to jump on this issue fast. A tutor can catch your child up to speed and help him or her learn better time management skills.

Confusion and Confidence

Being consistently confused is a worrisome sign that your child may need a tutor. According to Parents.com, if certain concepts are consistently confusing your child, he or she may not be meeting grade-level expectations. Your child may repeatedly express anxiety about tests and become defensive when you try to help. The confusion, anxiety, and frustration can stem from a lack of clarity in curriculum concepts or from the child’s inability to focus on the curriculum and thus not understanding the material. Regardless, a tutor can help your child comprehend each subject at the current level and learn better ways to understand the concepts and curriculum.

Lacking confidence is another sign that your child could use a tutor’s help, says Parents.com.
A tutor can successfully help your child become self-assured and have newfound confidence, which can correlate to better grades and more enjoyment from school. Feeling uncertain about a new concept is normal, but if your child is feeling overwhelmed and can’t keep up, the child’s impulse may be to run and hide rather than ask for help, so try to stay cued in on your child’s confidence levels.

Lastly, it is not always possible for a parent to manage a child’s homework. A tutor should be considered if a new obligation will result in your inability to assist as much, if you notice your child’s workload reaches a point where you cannot help as much, or if the material or manner in which it’s covered is something you find unfamiliar.

Finding a Tutor

Consider all possible sources of information when searching for a tutor, including educators and parents in your community. Even your child’s pediatrician can help point you in the right direction. Contact your child’s school, your state’s department of education, and national organizations, such as the Association of Educational Therapists, who can provide online referrals to educational therapists who tutor children with learning disabilities.

The school district should have a special education director who can help you. Other members of the school include speech therapists, counselors, and after-school program directors. You can also contact the local chapter of a national organization, such as Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) or Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).

If you notice your child struggling, don’t wait to get help. The sooner your child receives assistance, the better. A tutor can assist your child to improve study habits, cultivate self-motivation, and keep up with upcoming assignments and tests. Learning these skills will not only ensure academic success; these life skills for making healthy decisions will extend into home life, social life, and stay with your child as he or she grows into an adult. Be sure to check out this guide for more information on how to keep your child safe and making smart decisions.

ADHD article picPhoto Credit: Body-n-Care,Pixabay

 





Article on Bullying

15 04 2015

final.Cover.title

Recently, Lynda (Stoy) Stear, Founder and Editor of Living Seasons Ministry, invited me to contribute an article about bullying to her website. The article I shared tells the story about why I wrote the picture book Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies. Click on the link below to find my article. While you’re there, check out Lynda’s website.

http://www.livingseasonsministry.com/bullying-use-your-heart-eyes/





Here we go again.

15 09 2014

bus.keep.eyes.Lord.PS

Watch out! It’s coming.

What’s your it? Another school year which means a more hectic schedule, behavior issues, and assignment pressures? A reoccurring trial that brings chaos, stress, and tears? An illness that interrupts life, drains energy, and causes uncertainty?

Would it make a difference if the trial announced itself, “Look out. Here I come!”?

Probably not. When you’re in the path of a tornado, no umbrella will keep you from being swept away. When you’re headed for a car accident, bracing yourself won’t stop it from happening. Can anything be done when life’s warning system bellows, “Watch out!”

Remember, ducking won’t help. So, “Heads up!” Shift your focus to God.

I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, right. That’s easy for you to say. You have no clue what I’m facing.”

I gotta admit, it’s not a typical reaction for me to turn my attention heavenward during a trial. That would require me taking my eyes off the problem. I usually assume full responsibility to solve or manage the situation. Shifting my focus to God would mean I’d have to relinquish MY control.

A fellow teacher helped me see just how simple it can be. When I taught in a public school, I discovered the third grade teacher was a Christian. Al’s eyes seemed to sparkle with the love of the Lord. He greeted everyone with a soft smile and a sweet, “Hello.”

We’d pass each other in the hall and whisper a quick prayer request.

“Pray for my after-school meeting.”

“Pray for one of my students who is failing math.”

“Pray for me to get my papers graded in time for me to get to my son’s game after school.”

One day Al and I stopped at the teachers’ mailboxes at the same time. Al didn’t look me in the eye. His head hung low and he mumbled a brief, “Hi.”

“What’s wrong, Al?”

“I’m having a bad day. Once I get my eyes back on the Lord I’ll be fine.”

His two-sentence response became a sermon. His message reverberates in my mind whenever things get tough.

Faced with the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), Al’s advice helped me cope.

“What out! Here it comes. MS is headed your way.”

His godly advice taught me to have a right-focus during difficult times. It framed my thinking. I didn’t waste time dwelling on the diagnoses and details. I simply dealt with the pain, fatigue, and regular injections. All the while keeping my eyes on the Lord.

It’s getting easier to get my eyes back on the Lord. It’s no longer my last-resort strategy.

Faced with parental challenges, another friend provided much-needed Truth.

“Watch out! Here it comes. Your son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Decades ago, Chris, struggled with organizational and social skills (due to his ADHD). I shared my discouragement with a close friend at church. She told me a five-word sentence that restored my hope. During hard times, her father would reassure her by declaring, “God’s still on the throne.”

Since then, when things seem out of control or desperate I remind myself, “God’s still on the throne.”

The Creator of the universe, who spoke everything into existence, has my life under control. He’s working out His perfect plans.

What about unbearable pain or unspeakable loss?

“Watch out! Here it comes. Your son has drowned.”

That’s what Dave and Trish endured. Howie and I met them in college. The four of us shared a deep love of the Lord. So after graduation we kept in touch. The arrival of our first son came around the time of their first son, Ryan. When Ryan was two he drowned in their backyard pool.

What could make that more horrifying? Trish’s parents and Dave’s parents had both experienced the death of a toddler when they were young parents. So the grandparents were grieving the loss of their grandson while re-living their own nightmare.

In the hospital, minutes after Ryan died, Dave turned to his father for advice.

“Dad, you’ve been through this. What can you tell me?”

“You talk about your faith. Now you’re gonna live it,” was all he said.

So, if you’re hearing, “Watch out! Here it comes,” remember:

Keep your eyes on the Lord.

God’s still on the throne.

Live your faith.

Dave’s father’s advice helped him survive. Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.

 





Understanding Attention

4 01 2014

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“He has trouble paying attention.” That’s what every teacher told us throughout our son’s school career. As if we didn’t notice.

Diagnosed at age 5 with ADHD, Chris demonstrated classic signs of ADHD: impulsivity, distractibility, disorganization…  Back then, 28 yrs. ago, most people didn’t know about ADHD.  However, I was very familiar with the disorder. My training and experience teaching students in special education provided insight.

You can just imagine how it frustrated me when educators reported the obvious about Chris. Especially in such vague terms. “He has trouble paying attention.” That didn’t tell me anything concrete or helpful.

When I became a regular classroom teacher, I vowed to do a better job reporting information to parents of kids with ADHD. They deserved to know what I observed, how much redirection was required to keep the student on task, etc.

So I developed a rubric. You may find it useful. When you click on the link below, you’ll find a chart. Start with the first column and pinpoint precisely where a student falls. Write the date in the box that best describes the student’s behavior. Do the same for all the other columns.

After several months, repeat the process to update the information.

Attention Rubric





Some Simple Strategies with Big Benefits

24 09 2013

easy

Are you settling into the new school year (a-h-h-h), or are you THRUSTING into the new school year? Back on the treadmill?

Is this your schedule?

Get the kids up, fed, and dressed. Manage to load them into the van and arrive at school on time. Whew! Rush to work and put in a whole day. Hustle out to your car. Hurry to school to pick up the kids. Have a “meaningful” conversation about their day while speeding to after-school sports practices. Drop them off. Swing by to pick up food for dinner. Dodge slow-moving shoppers in the market. Race your shopping cart through the parking lot. Shove the bags in the van. Shoot back to the field to pick up the kids. Head home.

Instruct the troops, “Wash your hands. Change. Eat your snack. Do your homework.”

Get bombarded with questions about homework while trying to make dinner.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a collection of easy-to-implement strategies? Here’s a collection of my favorite ones.

Math Difficulties: Pre-teach the upcoming chapter. Often parents and tutors devote time to re-teaching concepts and skills a child hasn’t mastered. That’s like playing a catch-up game … a game the child can’t win. Instead, go to the chapter the teacher will be teaching next and introduce the concepts. When your child encounters them in school, s/he will be more confident. Maybe even confident enough to volunteer answers. The lesson will be a review. Your child will be more engaged. The teacher will begin to view your child as successful.

Reading Comprehension Difficulties: Reciprocal Questioning is a strategy that elevates a child’s attention to content while reading. Usually after a child reads a story, the adult asks questions. This is the reverse of what’s done during a typical review. In this case, the child thinks of questions s/he will ask you about the story. While reading the story, the child can write down questions or dictate them to you (stopping as s/he thinks of each question). After the story or a passage is read, the child asks you each question. Its fun to answer some of the incorrectly so the child can correct you (and provide the correct answer).

Homework Completion: Have the child predict how long it will take to complete each assignment. Often students can’t even begin their homework because the assignments loom so large in their minds. The task seems just too monumental to tackle. Why begin? Predicting how long each will take makes the job seem bearable. This seems like a simple strategy. But this approach works even with teens who have a learning disability. Optional: It’s fun to have the child use a timer to see how close s/he came to each prediction.

Behavior Management: A fresh perspective of the child can drastically improve behavior. It’s very motivating to a child when a respected adult believes in them. I once taught a second grader, Billy, who had ADHD. He struggled to pay attention, seemed hopelessly disorganized, interrupted often in class, and got in trouble regularly during recess. Each day numerous students told on the student for an assortment of offenses. Occasionally, his classmates compassionately asked for prayer for him (in our Christian school). Billy’s difficulties were no secret to anyone.

One day, out of desperation, I asked my students, “Has anyone else noticed Billy has improved his behavior?”

Billy’s eyes widened as big as saucers. He wondered how he’d miss such an accomplishment. My students responded with a deafening silence.

My inquiry wasn’t based on evidence of any improvement. I simply wanted to change the students’ expectations of Billy.

“No one? Well, if anyone does notice his improvement please tell me.”

Soon after, students began to report improved behavior. Why? Billy had renewed hope. His classmates began to watch for Billy’s good behavior (instead of studying him for any misbehavior).

Here’s the basis for the strategy:

Use the power to influence through the artful application of positive suggestion.  You can influence (but not control) what your students believe about themselves, you, the topic, learning, etc.  In fact, you already influence them in those areas.  You simply may have underestimated the power of that influence.  You could say, ‘This upcoming chapter is the hardest in the book, so everyone bear down!’ Or, you could say, ‘This upcoming chapter is my favorite, so get ready for a great experience.’  As an authority figure, the teacher carries the potential for vast influence.  It is common to have had a teacher tell us that we were ‘bad’ in math or spelling or writing.  Naturally, that subject became nearly impossible to master.  Such a bias can be carried with a student for the rest of their learning life.

From Brain-Based Learning Revised Edition  –  The New Science of Teaching and Training  by Eric Jensen

“Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) established that positive expectations tend to yield positive results and negative expectations yield negative results. 

They call this the Pygmalion effect or the self-fulfilling prophecy.”

From The Owner’s Manual for the Brain – Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research by Pierce J. Howard, Ph. D.





Don’t Assume Anything

2 09 2013

selfcontrol

“Pay attention.” “You have poor self-control.” Students understand what you mean by those statements. Right? Maybe not.

If students don’t clearly understand what you want them to do or stop doing, then how will they know how to comply?

Here’s a story to illustrate.

One day my fellow second grade teacher was absent.  I knew that one of her students, Bruce, was difficult to manage.  He had ADHD and often got into trouble.  My heart was tender to students like him who had ADHD.  He had a problem of skill not of will.  Usually, he didn’t demonstrate willful misbehavior.  He needed to learn skills to prevent impulsive misbehaviors.  I told the substitute that when (not if) Bruce misbehaved she was to send him to me (in my next door classroom).

As expected, Bruce was sent to me.  The infraction: he threw an eraser at his friend.  When my students went out to recess, I came back to the room to talk with Bruce.  He was pacing around nervously.  I calmly said, “Bruce why don’t you sit down in this chair.”

He knew the drill.  Rather than sitting down, he began to confess.  His nonstop confession went something like this: “I know.  I know.  I did something wrong.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it.  There was a lot of noise going on.  I don’t know why I did it.  I’ll never do it again.  What’s my punishment?”

“Bruce, I just want you to sit down in this chair.  Sit down and calm down.”

He complied. His silence told me he relaxed. So, I asked, “Do you have a problem with self-control?”

“No”

Adults often assume young children know what we mean when we say common phrases.  Bruce wasn’t being disrespectful.  He obviously didn’t understand the concept of self-control.

“Did you want to hurt your friend with that eraser?”

With a shocked look on his face he replied, “No!  Of course not.”

“That means you have trouble controlling yourself,” I explained. “You have a problem with self-control. People who have trouble controlling themselves do things they don’t really want to do.  They act before they think.”

He understood and quickly agreed.  “I have that problem.”

I went on to explain that there is a solution to the problem.  “If you accept the Lord as your Savior—”

Bruce interrupted and began to tell me the story of when he trusted Jesus as his Savior.  In his usual nonstop fashion, he related every detail – every day – every word.  It was precious and genuine.

“Oh I accepted the Lord as my Savior when I was five. In Sunday school they taught us about Jesus dying on the cross. He died for my sins. All I had to do was ask Him into my heart—to be my Savior. One night when my mom was putting me to bed I told her I wanted Jesus to be my Savior. I prayed and asked Him to come into my heart.

Bruce just needed to know how to rely on the Holy Spirit to help him have more self-control.

“Bruce, when you accepted Jesus into your heart, the Holy Spirit came into you. The Holy Spirit is God’s power in you to help you show the fruit of the Spirit. Like self-control. The Holy Spirit can help you have more self-control.”

“How can I get that help?” inquired Bruce.

“Just stop before you act and let the Holy Spirit take over. You’ll have more self-control.”

We ended our conversation with a prayer. Soon after, I returned him to his class.

The next day, the substitute reported how things were going.

“All the students are still misbehaving…not paying attention, not doing their work, calling out…”

“How has Bruce been?” I asked.

“He’s the only one who’s been behaved. Ever since you had a talk with him. What did you say?”

“I helped him understand ‘self-control.’ And taught him the Holy Spirit can help him show more self-control if he simply stops before acting.”

We all need to rely on the Holy Spirit to keep us from doing things we’ll regret.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23