School Success Means Nurturing Connections

Parents of ADHD+ers know that building school relationships is vital to the success of their student. It can be no less than a part time job to create connections in all the places you know support will be needed – from the secretary to the principle. Then the tight rope walk begins between being likable and holding them accountable, informing and oversharing, checking in and prodding.

We’re sure we’re not alone in wondering if there’s some utopia where it’s easier. You know, where ALL the pieces were working together – not just one here and there. We imagine trading the lone ranger routine for working as part of a TEAM.

Ali’s Story: Last year I received an email from my ADHD+er’s tutor offering some new strategies based on her observations. She included his teacher to get her input and signed it “Team (my son’s name).” Team? My heart leapt in my chest. They were collaborating and I wasn’t initiating it! My son was so supported. Was it possible to replicate this in his six other classes? The answer was a hard no, but I’ll take the bright spots where I can find them.

The reality is it takes a lot of work to build a school support team. Some years will be better than others depending on who’s really listening, who really cares and who has the skill set to really know what to do. It takes a lot of finesse and a lot of patience on our parts. It’s frankly – exhausting. I genuinely love and appreciate school personnel and go above and beyond to make sure they know that. But as I sit here at the dawn of year twelve of this tango – I mostly just want them to want what I want without HAVING TO CONTINUALLY CONVINCE THEM. I want to trade the few bright spots for a real team.

Nor’s Story: I am a professional woo-er of school personnel. After my family, no one is more important to me than the teachers and staff at my children’s current school (we’ve been at four so far). I bring presents and flowers and food. I also bring the three inch binder all about my complex ADHDer.

I love school people. And I fear them. And sometimes I end up hating them.  But I start out wooing them. I want them to know that I want nothing more than to be a successful team.  I freely and openly disclose. I’m real and true and authentic about his needs and mine. I put forth all the effort to get to know them and to help them see my child for who he is.

It’s a delicate balancing act between wooing and advocating. Tomorrow’s post is all about advocacy!

We know the work needed to build a school support system and we know that’s the only way to feel good about a school year. We’re wondering who’s on your school team? What do you do to build it? What works for you in maintaining it? What’s your story?

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