Tips, Strategies and Educational Resources for Parents During Social Distancing

Approximately 56.6 million students attended elementary and secondary school in the United States in 2019. With the current COVID-19 global pandemic, school districts across the nation made the tough decision to close schools and move to online classes due to public health and safety concerns. Parents and caregivers have been charged with stepping into a more active role of facilitating their child’s educational learning. Below are a few educational tips, strategies and resources for parents.

1. Ensure that student is participating in all required online activities including instructional time and any additional online chats’ participation.

2. Discuss with teachers your child’s ongoing academic progress including completion of homework assignments, projects and exam scores.

3. Parents are recommended to supplement their child’s learning with additional academic enrichment activities including educational websites, at home science projects or fun learning games.

4. Parents should make sure to create an at home learning environment to help their child focus including having a quiet place away from distractions, routine homework and study times and learning materials including a computer/laptop, textbooks, etc.

5. For students who are receiving exceptional student education (ESE) services, are under an IEP or 504 plan, should follow-up with the school counselor or school psychologist to determine if there are any required pending updates or meetings required prior to the end of the school year.

6. If your child was undergoing a psychoeducational evaluation for determination of special education services, please follow-up with school personnel for a status report and to see if the school psychologist may be conducting testing over the summer.

7. If your child was unable to start his/her evaluation prior to school closing, discuss with school staff if it is possible for your child to have a private psychoeducational evaluation completed if you are very concerned about the potential delay at the start of the next school year. Please be mindful that a private psychoeducational evaluation may be at your own expense and the school does not have to accept the results or recommendations. Additionally, if submitted to the school it becomes a part of your child’s educational record. Please take all of the above into consideration before spending hundreds of dollars for a private evaluation.

8. If you would like to pursue a private psychoeducational evaluation, consider a more affordable alternative of having the evaluation conducted at a nearby university that has a university-based clinic with graduate students who can complete the testing under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist or certified school psychologist.

9. Students finishing their senior year and planning to attend college in the fall, should contact their selected college/university to determine if classes will start on time as previously outlined.

10. Graduating students already admitted to college for 2020-2021, should follow-up on the status of their financial aid including any awarded grants, scholarships or G.I. bill disbursements.

EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES:

Abcmouse- subscription-based digital education program for children ages 2-8.

BrainPOP- Animated educational sites for kids

Discovery Education- standards-based digital curriculum resources for K-12 classrooms worldwide

Funbrain- online educational games for kids

Khan Academy- offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard for self-paced learning

PhET Simulations- provides free fun interactive math and science simulations

Scholastic- offers books, literacy resources and educational solutions for kids

Scistarter- connects people to citizen science projects, scientists and resources

Starfall- reading, phonics, and math educational games and activities for kids in preschool through 2nd grade

Tutor.com/military- The program provides on-demand academic support 24/7 online in more than 100 subjects for grades kindergarten through college students. Now available at no cost to any adult or child in a DoD civilian or Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve or Wounded Warrior military family.

FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS:

Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)-studentaid.gov

FastWeb- online college scholarship search provider

INFORMATIONAL ARTICLES:

“20 Tips for Applying for College Scholarship”, Felecia D. Sheffield, PhD, EzineArticles.com

“Minimizing Summer Learning Loss- 5 Tips for Parents”, Felecia D. Sheffield & Shameeka T. Meredith, ezinerarticles.com

Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “All About the IEP”

Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “Developing Your Child’s IEP”

U.S. Department of Education, “A Guide to the Individualized Education Program”

Greatschools.org “A parent’s guide to Section 504 in public schools”

Additudemag.com “is an IEP or 504 Plan best for Your Child? How to Decide”

Copyright © 2020 Felecia D. Sheffield. PhD, HSP All Rights Reserved Worldwide in all Media.

Teacher Tips: Improving Social Skills in ADHD Students

Thank you to all of our professional educators who dedicate themselves to our children! We know how difficult it can be working with ADHD children, so here are your teacher tips for the week, brought to you by the ADHD Information Library and ADDinSchool.com. This is a sampling of over 500 classroom interventions for your use at http://www.ADDinSchool.com. Here are some tips on Improving Social Skills: Provide a safe environment for the child. Make sure the child knows you are his friend and you are there to help him. Treat him with respect. Never belittle him in front of his peers. Both he and the other children know that he stands out, and if the teacher belittles the child, then the rest of the children will see that as permission from the teacher to belittle the child as well.

Students with attentional problems experience many difficulties in the social area, especially with peer relationships. They tend to experience great difficulty picking up other’s social cues, act impulsively, have limited self-awareness of their effect on others, display delayed role-taking ability, and over-personalize other’s actions as being criticism, and tend not to recognize positive feedback. They tend to play better with younger or older children when their roles are clearly defined. These students tend to repeat self-defeating social behavior patterns and not learn from experience. Conversationally, they may ramble and say embarrassing things to peers. Areas and time-periods with less structure and less supervision, such as the playground and class parties, can be especially problematic. Enlisting the support of peers in the classroom can greatly enhance your student’s self-esteem. Students with good social awareness and who like to be helpful can be paired with him. This pairing can take the form of being a “study buddy”, doing activities/projects, or playing on the playground. Cross-age tutoring with older or younger students can also have social benefits. Most successful pairing is done with adequate preparation of the paired student, planning meetings with the pair to set expectations, and with parental permission. Pairing expectations and time-commitments should be fairly limited in scope to increase the opportunity for success and lessen the constraints on the paired students. Students with attentional problems tend to do well in the cooperative group instructional format. Small student groupings of three to five members, in which the students “sink or swim” together to complete assignments/projects, encourage students to share organizational ideas and responsibilities, and gives an ideal setting for processing interpersonal skills on a regular basis. Small “play groups” of two to four students can help your student to develop more effective social skills. These groups are most effective if socially competent peers are willingly included in the group. The group should be focused on activities that stress interaction and cooperation. Board games, building projects, and sessions that promote frequent verbal interactions provide the greatest opportunity for learning appropriate social skills and controlling impulsivity. Your student would benefit most when the target social skills are identified and practiced with them prior to the activity and processed after the activity.

Many students lack friends to be with outside of the school-setting. It can be beneficial to strategize with your student and his parent on developing a “friendship plan” for the home setting. Sometimes the goal of establishing one special friendship is ambitious and sufficient. This could include steps of identifying friend possibilities that might be available/accepting, practice in making arrangements using the phone, planning an activity or sleep-over that is structured/predictable, and tips on how to maintain friendships over time. A subtle way for your student to learn social skills is through the use of guided observation of his peers on the playground. Accompany them on to the playground and point out the way other students initiate activities, cooperate in a game, respond to rejection, deal with being alone, etc. For many students, thirty minutes on the playground is beyond their capability to maintain peer relationships successfully. If necessary, break up the recess into ten minutes of activity, a ten minute check-in with the teacher/playground supervisor, then another ten minute activity period.

Restricting the area available for your student during recess can increase the contact with adult supervision and lessen the complexity of social decision-making. This can be done privately with your student prior to recess. Many students welcome this manner of simplifying their social interactions during this period of low structure. It is helpful to meet with your student prior to his lunchroom/playground period to review his plan for recess activity and with whom he will sit during lunch. Have him ask peers in advance of the recess block to do a certain activity with him. Process the activity with your student after recess and make suggestions for the following day. Hopefully these will help the ADHD students in your classroom to be more successful. You can learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder at the ADHD Information Library.