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

 





Leap Year Lesson

24 02 2016

leapyear

The once-in-four-years date is quickly approaching. Here’s a lesson designed to teach the concept and also celebrate leap year. Enjoy!

Leap Year Lesson. 1-3

Leap yr. concept card

 





Major Education Law Passed, With Barely a Whisper of Recognition

13 12 2015

whisperbest

Last Thursday, December 10th, a bi-partisan agreement was reached. That alone should have gotten every media’s attention. I almost missed the brief announcement on one news channel. Congress acted to make major improvements to the former education law. Where was the hoopla?

Because I’m sure you want to know…

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was signed into law on January 8, 2002, has been replaced. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed just last Thursday. It replaces NCLB. Both laws grew out of the premise that all students should have equal access to education and needed supports, regardless of race, income, zip code, disability, home language, or background.

The goals of the new bill echo those of NCLB. The intention of ESSA is also to ensure success for every student. To that end, the new bill also focuses on measures to improve poor-performing schools. Students will still take the federally required statewide reading and math exams.

Many of the changes sound exciting. Like more control being given back to state and local governments, limits put on the amount of time students spend on testing, and a required minimum of 30 days for public review of a State’s plan (which would include academic standards).

Clear and Concise Summary:

USA Today’s  article,  “The Every Student Succeeds Act vs. No Child Left Behind: What’s changed?” clearly breaks down the changes. It compares both laws with regard to the following categories:

  • The Problem
  • Testing
  • Common Core
  • Accountability
  • Remedies
  • Spending
  • Bipartisanship

Read for Yourself:

Find all the details of ESSA (Law: S.1177 – Student Success Act) posted on Congress.gov’s website:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177/text

 





God can be real to your child.

30 10 2014
Clinging to God as a Toddler

Clinging to God as a Toddler

Reaching out to Him as an Adult

Reaching out to Him as an Adult

“What’s wrong, Al?” I asked. The fellow teacher always seemed joyful. Normally, his love for the Lord splashed across his face. God’s peace glistened in his eyes. But not that day.

He checked his mailbox with his shoulders slumped and his head down. As if to hide pain or frustration. Something happened to smother his joy.

Every teacher has one of those days from time to time. A day full of problems. When they’re barraged with a multitude of incomplete assignments, relentless unruly behavior, and unending interruptions.

“I’ll be okay once I get my eyes back on the Lord,” was all Al replied. And he went on his way.

That single sentence was the sermon I needed. His godly advice came in handy when I experienced those kinds of days. Those words helped me adjust my focus when difficult days knocked the joy right out of me.

I’ll be okay once I get my eyes back on the Lord.

Don’t we all experience those days? Days when life gets the better of us. When we can no longer cope. When it becomes impossible to hide the hurt under a painted-on smile.

God, are You there? I need You. I need Your help. Where are You?

No answer. That silent treatment form God is unbearable. What can we do when God seems to be elusive?

We desperately need to know how to find Him. Not just for us. But so we can offer wise advice when our children go through trials.

What’s the secret? It’s no secret, really. Al’s stated it in a way even a young child could understand it. Focus on God instead of the problem. Then the challenges will shrink in light of His greatness and power.

How can we teach children to maintain an eternal focus? There are subtle ways which would instill godly thinking.

When our boys were toddlers, adults would often ask the typical question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I taught them to reply, “More like Jesus.” They learned that God had a purpose for their lives. One they’d discover. No matter what occupation God prepared for them, the goal would always be to become more like Jesus.

Many people ask students in high school and college a similar question. “What’s your major?” A different question could help young adults shift their focus heavenward. “How and where are you going to live out your faith?”

I’m blessed to still have the opportunity to teach education majors at a Christian university (Cairn University). We discuss many scenarios they might encounter out in the field. The students offer solutions to each problem.  Their responses reveal insight into each situation.

Rarely, however, do their answers include God. Seldom do they add, “I’d pray for wisdom to handle the situation,” or, “I’d trust God to provide the resources and guidance.” It’s not that they don’t know the Lord. They’re simply responding the way many of us react to challenges. By handling things first and turning to God as a last resort.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for not seeking You when I need You most. Thank You for being so patient with me. And for being so accessible. Help me turn to You when I’m FIRST confronted with a trial. Teach me to rely on You before going in my own strength. Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge You in all things. How I want to see Your hand in every area of my life. Give me lessons I can pass on to my children. For Your glory and for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here’s a challenge:

Does a drama queen live in your house? It could be a toddler who throws temper tantrums. Or a teenager with raging hormones. What could you say or do (during calm times) to help her focus more on the Lord?





Burden Lifted

5 02 2014

Vickis.trees

Can God be found in misery? Sometimes burdens pound us so low we’re too depressed to seek Him. Thankfully, He finds us. When we’re too low to look up, He reaches down. He’ll remind us of His care. Just like what He did for me today.

Countless people are suffering due to the recent storm in the northeast. About half a million people are without electricity in my area. Thanks to the snow-ice-rain storm that struck last night.  Ice-covered roads, littered with downed live wires, have imprisoned residents in their homes.

I surveyed our trees and found only one down. Then I spotted our cluster of Leyland Cypress evergreens. They drooped under the weight of snow.

“Don’t worry; I’ll help you,” I told them. The load of snow on each branch threatened to distort their shapes.

I swatted snow off the first limb. It lifted slowly upward as if to say, “Thank you. That feels much better.”

The second branch responded similarly. Displaying its graceful relief.  The two released branches looked like a picture of praise to God.

Thank You, God, for this symbol of burdens. How I rejoice like this tree when I surrender my worries to You.

My mission continued. One branch didn’t raise its limb when struck. I peered closer to the trunk and investigated.

“What’s holding you down? Oh I see. Your neighbor is weighing you down.”

I understand, Lord. Others can pull me down. People who complain about their aliments entice me to admire my own aches. Tempting me to complain about my multiple sclerosis. I’m grateful for godly friends who, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)”

I aimed my snow scraper brush at the adjacent branch and smacked it. Both boughs floated heavenward.

Branches close to the ground were buried in snow.

Now, Lord You’re showing me how my cares can bury me. They beat me down so low I no longer focus on You. Like days I’m tempted to encase myself in blankets and remain in bed for the day. Without trusting You to help me serve others.

The whacks each branch received restored new life.

Thank You, Jesus, for bearing my burden on the cross. And for easing my daily burdens. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. (Psalm 68:19)”

I finished the job; grateful God provided the strength and the lesson.

Ask God to reveal His presence to you today. Then watch and listen!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)”

Dear Father, Help me throw off everything that hinders my walk with you. Remind me of Your invitation to, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)”    In Jesus’ name, Amen

Has God surprised you with His presence? Did He speak to you during the busyness of your day?





Understanding Attention

4 01 2014

parent.teacher.ADHD.best.conf

“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.