Our eleven-year-old daughter, who has been diagnosed with inattentive-type ADHD, has been doing better since she began treatment with stimulant medication. However, we still have trouble getting her organized around homework. We have tried setting up an office in her room, taking away all the distractions, keeping the area quiet, and not allowing the television to go on until all her homework is done. We don’t seem to be making much progress and, in fact, we are all getting even more frustrated because nothing seems to work. Her teachers still complain that work is not getting turned in, and her grades are still suffering in spite of her teacher always telling us how bright she is.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the ideal homework setting. Some children with ADHD work inefficiently in an isolated, quiet setting like their room, and do better in the midst of some action, like at the kitchen table with a radio playing. You might need to try a few different settings until you find the most efficient one.
In addition, you might need to figure out if any other factors are making homework difficult. Think about all the steps involved. Does your child know what all the assignments are? Does she bring the materials home that are necessary for doing the work? Does she have a nightly work plan that fits with her learning style? (She might need to schedule breaks between math and English, or between outlining the report and writing the first 3 paragraphs.) Does she have a system to check on whether all the nightly work is done? Is there a system for checking that her completed work gets turned in on the due date? How does she or you know that work is late? Have you or her teacher set up rewards for progress or consequences for late work? Is there a system for her teacher to communicate with you about late work?
Once you have gone through this type of systematic list of questions, you can begin to solve the problem in an organized way—and you might discover some simple and obvious solutions. If she is taking stimulant medication and she does her homework primarily at a time after it has worn off, you could consider a short-acting extended dose of medication for the early evening.