Back-to-school checklist for the ADHD student

The summer months are in full swing and provide kids with a much needed break from the demands of the school year. “Back to school” preparations, however, are just a few weeks away. For children with ADHD, these preparations should include a number of critical elements to ensure the best possible start to the school year.

Routine ADHD Check UP
Routine visits for children with ADHD are important to ensure they are receiving the best care possible. ADHD medications often cause appetite suppression so checking weight, height and BMI should be done periodically. Your physician should review possible side effects of the medication and determine how effective it was towards the end of the previous school year. Valuable feedback can be obtained from the teacher by asking them to fill out a questionnaire or speaking with them directly. All of this information will help your doctor decide if any dosing changes need to made or if a different medication altogether should be tried.

Getting Back to a Regular Schedule
The summer months often provide an opportunity for kids to go to sleep later, sleep in late, spend more time in front of screens and eat less nutritious meals. All of these can negatively impact on one’s ability to stay focused and attentive and are especially detrimental to those who suffer from ADHD. Taking some time to get back to a regular schedule is critical in helping your child hit the ground running prior to starting school. At least one week prior to the start of the school year, kids should start to go to sleep early, wake up on time, have a nutritious breakfast and limit time spent in front of screens.

Academic Accommodations
Children with ADHD can often benefit from a wide range of academic accommodations. Prior to the start of the school year, it is advisable to request a meeting with staff to discuss the accommodations that have been recommended for your child. Common accommodations include; extra time on tests, preferential seating, direct instruction and allowance of more frequent breaks. Is is important to ensure that your child is taught by a teacher with patience and knowledge about ADHD and that the class has a minimum number of special needs students so your child won’t “fall through the cracks”. Parents should work hard to advocate for their child and ensure the best possible learning environment is provided and that recommended accommodations are put in place.

Starting the school year again after the fun and relaxation of the summer months is challenging for most kids, and in particular to those with ADHD. Taking some time over the summer to go through the ADHD back to school checklist, will help make the transition easier and get the year off to the best possible start.

About the Author
Jonah Kruger is a doctor who lives and works in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at McMaster University in Canada and completed his specialty training in pediatrics at Hadassah Medical Center, Mount Scopus. He treats children and adults privately for ADHD at Jerusalem's Wolfson clinic. He can be contacted at