On the last track, we discussed the Five Points to consider when thinking
about medicating an ADD child. The Five Points to consider when thinking
about giving an ADD child medication were 1. the attitudes of the child
and parents toward the use of medication, 2. the use of medication in
the beginning is only a trial, 3. medication is not a cure, 4. some medications
have contraindications, and 5. any child about to take psychotropic medications
for ADD should have a physical exam.
On this track, we will discuss a guideline for effective home-school
partnerships, and avoiding the obstacle of misunderstanding.
When Carol, who was the mother of Alex, age 11 who was recently diagnosed
with ADD, first learned that her son had ADD, she became determined to
do all that she could to help him succeed in school. Carol stated, “I
want to help Alex as much as I can. What’s frustrating is that
his teachers treat me like I’m wasting my time. They act like I
can’t do much to help him. But I’m his mother! Shouldn’t
I be given credit for having at least some influence?” Sound like
a problem one of your clients with an ADD child is facing?
Common Obstacles of Misunderstanding
I have found that the common obstacles to effective home-school partnerships
are misunderstandings between the parents and school personnel. I explained
to Carol that a guideline for an effective home-school partnership is
to avoid these common obstacles of misunderstandings. As you know, there
are common misunderstandings.
The parents may either underestimate or
overestimate what the school can do to help the ADD child, and the school
may either underestimate or overestimate what the parents can do. I explained
this to Carol and stated, “It seems that you are having problems
with two common misunderstandings. You have said that the teachers don’t
have much faith in your ability to help Alex, but you also haven’t
placed much faith in their abilities to help him.”
To combat the
underestimating problems between Carol and Alex’s teachers, I suggested
to Carol that she try to establish a working relationship with Alex’s
teachers based on mutual trust and respect. I stated, “Consider
yourself an equal partner with the teachers in helping solve Alex’s
Carol looked frustrated and stated, “I’d like to, but I
just don’t know how! I mean, what do I do to get the teachers to
help me understand what I can do to get him to finish his homework?”
7-Step Technique: School Solutions
I explained to Carol that she might want to try a problem-solving technique
with the school personnel. I suggested the technique “School Solutions.” There
are seven steps to the “School Solutions” technique. I explained
to Carol that she could use these seven steps of the “School Solutions” technique
with Alex’s teachers, but that we could practice it together first.
-- Step #1 - Problem Identification
I then explained to Carol the first step in the “School Solutions” technique
is Problem Identification.
I asked, “What is one problem that Alex
seems to have a lot?” Carol replied, “That’s easy – homework.
He’ll usually work on it, but the problem is that Alex rarely actually
finishes his homework.” I explained to Carol that she would need
to define the problem more specifically.
I asked, “What classes
is Alex having the most problems completing homework for? What kinds
of assignments does he usually leave incomplete?” Carol answered, “I
think he probably has most of his problems with math homework and solving
problems. I usually have to help him with those.”
-- Step #2 - Looking at Contributing Factors
I then explained the second step in the “School Solutions” technique
for Carol, was Looking at Contributing Factors. I asked Carol, “Does
Alex leave homework unfinished because he doesn’t understand it?
Or does he simply not use his time wisely? Are there a lot of distractions
in his work area?”
Carol answered, “I think it’s just
that Alex doesn’t use his time wisely. Then again, there are distractions
in his room when he does homework.” I stated, “You should
also look at the extent to which factors may be working together to cause
the problem. You just said he doesn’t use his time wisely and that
there are distractions in his room. Are the distractions contributing
to his decisions to not use his time wisely?” Carol nodded, and
said, “I guess that’s possible.”
-- Step #3 - Brainstorm Alternative Strategies
After the steps of Problem Identification and Looking at Contributing
Factors, I explained the third step, Brainstorm Alternative Strategies.
I stated, “When you work through this technique with Alex’s
teachers, you’ll need to brainstorm as many solutions as you can
to solve this problem. Suggestions should be taken without criticism.
You might want to write down all the possible solutions.”
-- Step #4 - Choose the Most Effective Strategy
I explained to Carol that after the possible solutions were written
down, the fourth step is to Choose the Most Effective Strategy. I stated, “With
Alex’s teachers, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each
of the solutions, and choose the best one.” As you know, an important
part of this step is to make sure that the people most responsible for
implementing the strategies are in agreement with the strategies that
have been chosen.
-- Step #5 - Specify Who Would be Responsible for What
For the fifth step, I explained to Carol that she and Alex’s teachers
would need to Specify Who Would Be Responsible for What.
I stated, “Sometimes
this is apparent in the fourth step of Choosing the Most Effective Strategy.
However, if other tasks need to be done in order to implement intervention,
they should be assigned in the fifth step.For example, if one solution
is that Alex will come to school early for tutoring sessions, his teacher
will obviously be responsible for being there to tutor. However, you
will also have an additional responsibility – making sure Alex
gets to school early enough for the tutoring sessions.”
told Carol that the fifth step is also a good time to discuss how everyone
would evaluate the strategy after it has been tried.
-- Step #6 - Initiating Intervention
I then gave Carol the sixth step, Initiating Intervention. I stated, “This
step is fairly easy once you’ve done the first five steps. You
and Alex’s teachers will simply need to put the plan into action.”
-- Step #7 - Evaluate the Effectiveness of Intervention
Finally, I told Carol that the seventh step in the “School Solutions” technique
is to Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Intervention. I stated, “This
can be done either formally or informally, but stick to the evaluation
decision you made in step five.” (Phelan 132)
Do you have a client like Carol who is having problems creating a partnership
with her ADD child’s teachers? Would your Carol benefit from the “School
On this track, we have discussed a guideline for effective home-school
partnerships, avoiding the obstacle of misunderstanding.
On the next track, we will discuss several five strategies for dealing
with ADD children in the classroom. Those five strategies are 1. Thinking
ADD, 2. Crisp Behavior Management, 3. Prevention, 4. Dealing with Parents,
and 5. Experimental Thinking.
What are two examples of common misunderstanding obstacles? To select and enter your
answer go to