Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Do children with ADHD need homework relief?

Here's a comment I made in response to a question on an ADHD website asking whether parents felt that medication was helpful.

I think the issue of medications for ADHD is complicated. My own experience when my children were kids is that it was necessary. Without it, they could not function in class. As a psychologist who is now looking back on the issue, I have come to believe there is another issue regarding medication that gets overlooked. I address it in my book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers. The truth is that kids cannot be medicated as well in the afternoon and at night as they can be during the day. This creates a false impression, in the teacher’s mind, by what the child does during the day that the child is capable of doing more homework than that child really is. The ADHD child has done a great job, with the help of medication, managing the school day. Now, that child who functioned in a time bound, 9-3 context, with the help of medication, goes into the afternoon and evening, needing to unwind, not needing to keep doing more work. The child may get an afternoon dose of medication but he is probably not ready to do any more until the evening, and by then, you don’t want to keep medicating your child. After all, you do want him to eat and sleep. Yet, the teacher has this idea that he is more capable at home than he really is. Your child needs reward for what he did, not pressure and criticism for what he did not do that night. He needs less homework, not more time (the standard accommodation that schools willingly give). This is part of what I call the homework trap and what I strongly believe needs to be changed. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. www.thehomeworktrap.com.

No comments: