• Students acquire general information about ADHD and learn to recognize and be cognizant of their own ADHD. They learn what type of ADHD they have (predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, combined type); what accommodations they should seek; and practice asking for them.
• Students are taught several specific study skill strategies: obtaining and remembering information; organizing information; using information.
• Even the most admirable human trait can have a negative side if carried too far. For example, too much honesty can lead to tactlessness, and too much energy can create havoc. Linda helps her students learn to use their positive traits in a beneficial way. She also uses ADHD success stories from real life (including kids who have passed through her program) to educate and motivate her students.
• The final unit of the program covers topics such as coping with impulsivity and dealing with feelings and frustrations; how to express yourself so you feel heard and understood; and how to speak and act appropriately in different settings. In this unit Linda works on effective communication (written, verbal, body language). She uses role playing and class discussions to help students learn to fit in and to control themselves in a variety of situations. She also teaches students to seek adult help when confronted by serious matters such as sexual harassment, physical assault, or racial slurs.
Linda very successfully builds partnerships with parents, and part of that teamwork is very close communication. Agenda books are the key mechanism, but Linda carries a beeper for emergencies and also gives parents her email address. She calls parents when their child does something great and when their child runs into serious trouble. In response to parents sharing that they needed expert advice and other parents to talk with, Linda founded the James Rutter Middle School Parent Support Group (which meets monthly). The parent support group meetings and regular contacts/conferences between home and school are an integral part of this program's success.
One of the final chapters of Linda's book provides guidance for parents or educators who wish to set up a similar program in their school. The authors talk about how to enlist the help of such people as counselors, speech therapists, special education personnel, and school administrators to get such a program off the ground and provide specific resources for tailoring a curriculum to fit the needs of the individual school and community.
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