Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go out to hear a panel of experts on ADD/ADHD on a school night when my daughter’s at my house. So when I found out that one such panel of local experts was going to be both televised and streamed on the computer, I thought, "Yippee!" My daughter, a sixth-grader, was sure she could do her homework upstairs on the computer while I listened to the panel on the TV downstairs. For an hour and a half.
You can see where this is heading.
The panel was excellent. Plus, one presenter said he thought my daughter’s middle school is a good fit for kids with ADD (I agree). He also recommended that certain ADD kids get “less homework” written into their 504 plans. I liked this guy.
Meanwhile, upstairs, my daughter opened The Phantom Tollbooth (one of our favorite books) to check the spelling of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis for her book review. Immediately hooked, she spent the rest of the hour and a half in Hyperfocusopolis, reading the book again.
Downstairs, the headache I already had got worse and worse. Panel over, I dragged myself upstairs. My daughter sweetly brought me ginger candies and an ice pack for the back of my head. By then it was bedtime.
I wasn't mad at my daughter. I had chosen to try this as an experiment, even though I was pretty sure I could predict the outcome. She needs a body double to stay on task with certain kinds of homework—notably, anything that requires writing. (Big exception: creative projects. Scale model of a clownfish, complete with slime coat? She's on it.)
I admit, though, to some panic and even resentment. Can’t I watch one panel on one weeknight, I thought, without my daughter getting all behind in her homework?
Once my headache eased and my stomach settled down, however, I could think more clearly. My daughter will catch up. We can track how much time she spends on homework. If it's really taking too long, we can talk with her teachers.
If necessary, we can even negotiate a less-homework clause in her 504 plan.
By the way, the last thing I learned before I turned off the TV? That a copy of the presentation would be archived and available anytime on the computer.
You can watch the panel too! Visit Boulder Psychological Services and look for "ADHD: Diagnosis, Challenges, and Treatment," from November 1, 2010.