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My Experience With Virtual Homeschooling A Child With ADHD

Being at home, especially in quarantine is challenging for most kids but can you imagine if a child is diagnosed with ADHD.  Furthermore, we all weren’t just placed in isolation but also were asked to engage our child(ren) in virtual homeschooling.  To say the least, I, like many other parents found this scenario overwhelming with one thought in mind “where is my drink?“ just kidding or not….

My own daughter is diagnosed with ADHD, so I’m speaking from personal experience.  Parents and teachers of kids with ADHD know that these children show propensity to be compulsive talkers, fidgeters, interrupt during classes, are hypersensitive to environmental distractions, and are not in favor of non-negotiable rules.  All these characteristics are considered obstacles for learning in a traditional classroom setting.  My concern as a parent of a child with ADHD was that If traditional classrooms are a challenge, how will I virtually homeschool my daughter? I felt exhausted and anxious just thinking about it …again “where is my drink?.”

So the past two weeks, I put my helmet and boxing gloves on and set out to tackle virtual homeschooling.   I must admit, my daughter and I were pleasantly surprised.  Also, having experience as an Occupational Therapist working with kids who have ADHD within a traditional classroom allowed me to compare and contrast this experience to a larger extent. 

These are some drawback that I found while virtually homeschooling my daughter.  First, I realized that as a parent, it’s difficult enough to get your child to follow basic house rules, such as doing their chores, so I was skeptical and wondered how I was going to get my daughter to do math, English etc.  Second, I realized that in this case I was mostly in charge, not the school.  I was responsible for enacting IEP accommodations while meeting my child’s educational requirements. Wow, how do I do that and actually enforce it?….

Finally, the fact that virtual homeschooling does not provide the opportunity for my daughter to develop her social skills was a concern.  I as a parent had to plan on providing my daughter with opportunities for socialization that did not involve an electronic device.  Definitely hard to to do while being quarantined – food for thought.…  I had to rely on board games, family time and walks while keeping social distance.  In a normal scenario, playdates and after school activities would have been an option.  On the upside, my daughter got to spend quality time with those she loves.  That translated to mostly her mom, which was made very clear by the constant bear hugs and “mom” attention seeking behaviors.

In the past two weeks, I also noticed some positive aspects of virtually homeschooling my daughter. First, my daughter was able to complete her virtual schooling in the morning and I was able to either give her extra work to reinforce skills or work on concepts she found difficult.  I must say not her favorite preferring to “Tik Tok” her way through the afternoon till bedtime. Second, I was able to minimize distractions and provide snacks and brain breaks thus improving her focus and decreasing her fidgetiness.  I also realized the “zoom app” allowed you to mute others within the virtual class allowing limited distractions thus improved focus.  Finally, I was able to customize or plan the rest of the day based on her mood (all I can say is “teenager”) and needs (i.e. incorporating exercise, family time, socialization, arts and crafts and some hugs etc).  

In conclusion, even if there are clear drawback, I enjoyed the flexibility of time. It allowed me to actually enjoy my daughter and experience her with ALL her glory (24/7).   The secret to keeping child-parent sanity is to provide your child with brain breaks (see attached image below) and do not forget to TAKE CARE OF SELF, SO YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF OTHERS:)    

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