Let me introduce myself. I’m Joan Teach, and yes, I married the name less than a month after graduating from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, with a brand-new teaching certificate. I had a passion to teach and make a difference, and that passion remains today.
I am a teacher at heart and I love kids, even teenagers and young adults. I am also fascinated by the many facets each of us finds necessary to use in order to learn. Being an adult affected by ADHD myself, I am on a constant quest to discover how my brain works, and I am sensitive to the differences I see in others. To me, ADHD provides some of the deepest mysteries observed in styles of learning.
I am opening this blog in partnership with CHADD to provide a forum for teachers. Of course, parents are welcome too! As a former teacher, special educator, administrator, consultant, and counselor, I am sure I do not have all the answers. I am a mother as well as a grandmother, with both adopted and inherited ADHD in my family. So I see the ADHD problem as a family/education problem. It is my hope that together we can learn from each other, explore the questions you have, and provide for a better understanding.
TEACHERS: I applaud your concern for the child with ADHD in your classroom. Each child comes with his or her own set of behaviors, and unfortunately, no repair manual. The techniques needed for our youngsters are often found in the pile of creative innovations that help all children to learn. Come with us as we explore things that work, behaviors that need to be understood, and innovations that make us all feel better about who we are.
PARENTS: I know it is day-to-day survival when you are raising a child with ADHD. It is the constant quest to understand what the child is dealing with in the classroom. It is the struggle of getting through homework on a daily basis trying to survive once more till the weekend. It is the social miscues and misunderstandings that bring me to this blog.
SCHOOL PLAUDITS: I am here to create a dialogue and one of the best ways to start is to send praises, for we hear so few.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Holt McDougal, Holt Rinehart Winston, and other publishers are making e-copies of their textbooks available to schools. Internet access to children’s literature, science, social studies, and math enables any student to:
1. Have a textbook for homework, even when it is left at school. Innovative!
2. Have the ability to print pages to fill in the answer, i.e., math problems that some students spend many hours copying. Awesome!
3. Have a text read to him or her. A boon for those with poor reading ability, and of course, attention problems! When the printed words provide an ongoing struggle, many students can listen and understand. What a relief!
4. Have the directions read to him or her. The core of a child’s difficulties in school may be reading the directions. If you understand the question, the answer may just be waiting to be told. A way of knowing!
5. Answer questions online and submit them directly to the teacher. What a plus, especially for backpacks that “eat” homework!
Teachers in many schools have created websites to benefit their students and help success to happen. Plaudits to school systems that are using technology to heighten stimulation, reinforce reading for students who process slowly or have a difficult time decoding language. The combination of the electronic charm and stimulation partnered with the reinforcement of a spoken language text provides a win/win situation for many youngsters. Attention is increased, the ability to “read” without errors and stumbles over large words and terminology is a boost to any learner. Using a multimedia approach to learning is a great way to enable students.
DOWNSIDE: As in any situation, there is a downside. Some families do not have Internet access, computers with high-speed access, or printers. Libraries have access available for some, but not all families have the transportation or the time to go to the library.
Some systems have these supports available, but the parents do not understand they are available, or do not know how to use them.
And then there is the winsome, electronics-savvy child who appears to go online to work the system for homework—and seems to get off onto another dimension entirely! So much for our techno-savvy kids.
CHALLENGE: Let me pose three questions to you.
• How can we get all school systems to address the multidimensional needs of our students with ADHD?
• How can we support our local systems to come onboard with technology?
• How can we make e-support available and understood by all?
Post your comments (click on that little comment icon under the title of this post) and let’s dialogue. And while you’re at it, be sure to let me know what other topics you’d like to discuss!
P.S. A day-long Teacher to Teacher workshop will be held following CHADD’s annual conference in Atlanta this November. You will learn evidence-based interventions to manage every aspect of AD/HD in the classroom, and you will receive continuing education credits. Click on the link for more information. I hope you can attend!