If your child is feeling overwhelmed by school and falling behind, they may have 'Curriculum ADHD.'

A mom came in the other day to talk about her struggling eight-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, a fourth grader. Jacqueline presented with many of the common concerns- difficulty with decoding, reading fluency, spelling and writing, feeling overwhelmed by school.

I asked the mom, “What has been done for Jacqueline?”

The mom answered, “Well in kindergarten she got Wilson Fundations. Then in first grade she got Reading Recovery.” She continued, “The Reading Recovery teacher went out on maternity leave at the midway point of the school year and they gave Jacqueline instruction with Harcourt Trophies in her regular class. Now they are talking about giving her SRA for next year or Read 180. I really can’t keep up with it all. Why do they jump around so much?”

“Sounds like she may have a case of Curriculum ADHD,” I responded.

What is Curriculum ADHD

Curriculum ADHD refers to jumping from method to method without ever really giving any of them a chance to take hold. My impression is that there’s a lot of Curriculum ADHD going on these days. Struggling readers, in particular, require a focused approach over a long enough period of time. This allows the child to internalize the skills prioritized by the better methods (the ones with good clinical and research support).

My question is this: if a child doesn’t receive sufficient time with a particular method had we know if she is responding to the intervention, as is required with RTI (Response to Intervention), which is a part of the public school landscape?

Could Curriculum That ADHD be contributing to the child’s difficulty?

Takeaway Point: How to help struggling readers in the classroom

In conclusion, kids with reading issues (even relatively mild ones) need a special therapy that extend over a long enough period of time for them to make a difference. Above all, try to advocate for sticking with one method long enough for it to have an impact.

There may be significant variations in how a child with ADHD responds to his or her surroundings over time. Since it’s a medical condition, cure is available. All you have to do is wait and see which one works best for your child.

Adapted from School Struggles (Sentient Publications), Richard Selznick, Ph.D.