Choosing a School for a child with ADHD

Parents of children with ADHD often wish to find a school that is supportive and understanding of the issues their child faces.  This is often a difficult task as all schools are expected to help all children, regardless of disability, reach their individual potential.

The Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards) clarifies the obligations of education and training service providers and the rights of people with disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The Standards give students and prospective students with disabilities the right to education and training opportunities on the same basis as students without a disability. This includes the right to comparable access, services and facilities, and the right to participate in education and training without discrimination. Education providers have an obligation to make changes to reasonably accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.

The Standards also require education providers to put in place strategies and programs to prevent harassment and victimisation. They must ensure that staff and students know it is not lawful to harass or victimise students with disabilities, or students who have associates with disabilities, or their carer, assistant, assistance animal and/or disability aid. An education provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that staff and students know what to do if harassment or victimisation occurs.

The NSW Public Schools website has sections on 'Disability' and 'Learning & Support' which provides information on what support you should expect in NSW schools.  This page has plenty of related links and numbers to call to gain further information on this topic.

Recommendations may be given by friends or family but in some cases success at school may come down to the actual teacher your child has in a particular year or individual circumstances.

Some parents wonder whether to mention to a prospective school that their child has ADHD in case this increases the chance of prejudice against their child.  However, if a school is going to be understanding and supportive of your ADHD child they need to know about it.  

Before visiting a prospective school do your homework by checking their website and asking other parents (preferably of children with ADHD).   Asking specific questions of the principal during your tour may help to guide you as to their attitude towards supporting ADHD children.

This page from the NSW Parents Council website entitled 'Choosing a School for your Special Needs Child' gives plenty of additional information to navigate the process.

The article below from Additude Magazine has some further ideas you may find useful:


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