The ADHD Kid’s Bill of Rights


After yesterday’s post, I found out that my kid’s para actually didn’t know about his diagnosis of ADHD! That’s my lesson learned: Don’t think that telling the half of the IEP team that you see on a regular basis means that the other half of the IEP team also knows what’s been shared.

When I mentioned that the loud time of day during drop-off really highlighted his ADHD symptoms, she said she didn’t know about his attention problems. And though she has more than twenty years of special education experience she said she’s never worked with an ADHD kid. Then she said this: “He’ll just have to learn to tune it out. I hear all of this, and I can still focus.”

Oh, dear.

I explained then that actually he CAN’T learn to focus. That’s actually what ADHD means. It would be like telling me to learn to see without my glasses. (Come on, girl, see better!)

So I found a copy of the ADHD kid’s bill of rights that I’m passing to the para today. I first saw this during a talk by Cindy Goldrich from PTS Coaching, but I found the version below online. We’ve hung it in every room of our apartment.

The ADHD Child’s Bill of Rights by Ruth Harris

Help me to focus. Please teach me through my sense of touch. I need “hands on” and “body movement.”

I need to know what comes next. Please give me a structured environment where there is a dependable routine. Give me an advanced warning if there will be changes.

Wait for me, I’m still thinking. Please allow me to go at my own pace. If I rush, I get confused and upset.

I’m stuck ! I cant do it! Please offer me options for problem-solving. I need to know the detours when the road is blocked.

Is it right? I need to know NOW! Please give me rich and immediate feedback on how I’m doing.

I didn’t forget, I didn’t ‘hear’ it in the first place! Please give me directions one step at a time and ask me to say back what I think you said.

I didn’t know I wasn’t in my seat! Please remind me to STOP, THINK and ACT.

Am I almost done now? Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.

What? Please don’t say “I’ve already told you that.” Tell me again in different words. Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.

I know, it’s ALL wrong, isn’t it? Please give me praise for partial success. Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.

But why do I always get yelled at? Please catch me doing something right and praise me for my specific positive behavior. Remind me (and yourself) about my good points, when I’m having a bad day.

I may be hard to live with, and have ADHD, but I still have feelings and would have never chosen to behave like I do sometimes.

(Reprinted on from Newsletter of The Delaware Association For The Education of Young Children, Winter 1993-94) © 1991, Ruth Harris, Northwest Reading Clinic



3 Responses to “The ADHD Kid’s Bill of Rights”

  1. 2 Guy LeCharles Gonzalez January 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    “my kid’s para actually didn’t know about his diagnosis of ADHD” Catching up via Google Reader and saw this after my comment on the other post. That’s both good to hear and frustrating. But on the positive side, good to hear!

  2. 3 May 21, 2014 at 10:13 pm

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