Homework…and the ADHD Child
Simply put, homework is supposed to be like this. At a certain time, the child sits down and completes their assignments, with a reasonable degree of success, in a timely fashion, and perhaps with some interaction with their parent(s). The purpose of homework is to allow the child further opportunities to independently master their coursework, and perhaps allow the parent to become involved in what is happening for their child at school.
Unfortunately, with a child who has ADHD, the experience and outcome can be quite different. After much cajoling, and struggle the parent gets the child to begin their homework. Then ensues a multiple hours long battle, involving countless distractions, struggles (and phone calls?) to understand material and directions which unfortunately, the inattentive child did not get straight in class, and outbursts of frustration and anger from both parties. The outcome of this homework session is (along with hopefully some learning), exhaustion, hurt feelings, distrust, lowered self-esteem, and anger. Sound familiar…?
This damaging experience actually begins at school. Often the ADHD child has extra homework added on because of work uncompleted in class, and/or as punishment for poor behavior or inattention. By the time they get home they are frustrated, tired and stressed. Mom and/or Dad may be feeling this way too (they have their own struggles). When the “getting started” battle is finally over, parents often find that the child is behind in assignments (again?), hasn’t written down directions properly, and doesn’t know how to do the work (want to repeat fifth grade?) What’s very important to understand, and correct this scenario, is that with the ADHD child, they cannot stop this from happening, it’s part of the uncorrected disorder. However, often teachers, other students, and parents lose site of this, and blame the child. The result is a child who feels very badly about themselves, and gives up, or rebels, or both.
These daily episodes are very damaging to family dynamics. In addition to the harm done to the parent-child relationship, there are other significant consequences. Other children’s needs go unattended (not to mention the parent’s), important tasks around the house go undone (dinner anyone?), and last, but definitely not least, the parent’s own relationship suffers as blaming, overwork, and loss of quality time together are also casualties.
Remember what we said homework was for and was supposed to be like in the first paragraph? The homework experience with the ADHD child is not any kind of “Building Up”…it is a “Tearing Down” experience.
Fortunately, this can be changed, without the side-effects and rigors of medication. Neurofeedback is an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback 1075 Yorba Place Suite 105 Placentia, CA 92870 714.990.6536