The Impact Common Core Curriculum has on Children with Learning Challenges Like ADHD.
In recent years, public schools in over 40 different states have adopted the same set of academic standards, called Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards set out the skills students should master by the time they graduate from high school. They cover math and English language arts, and the standards apply to students of all ability levels, including those with learning disabilities such as ADHD.
The Impact of Common Core Standards on Students with ADHD
The concept of setting academic standards in schools is not new, and students with ADHD will encounter many of the same challenges they faced prior to CCSS implementation. These students will still require Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), but these must be aligned to CCSS. Standards-based IEPs are of particular importance to students with ADHD as CCSS place increased demands on students to perform well in math and English language arts, subjects that students with ADHD traditionally find taxing.
A recent study examining the link between Common Core Standards and rates of ADHD medication use suggests that students with ADHD may be tempted to take more stimulants to help them cope with the greater demands to perform well in the classroom. It reveals that middle school and high school students with ADHD are 30 percent more likely to take stimulants during the school year than in the summer. Additionally, those who reside in states with the most rigorous academic standards are the most likely to take stimulants only while school is in session.
While the study does not show that CCSS leads to more stimulant use, it indicates that the demand for increased focus on math and English language arts at the expense of physical activity may strain the attention of students with ADHD and other learning disorders. It also highlights the need for parents and teachers to recognize that these students are likely to require more support than they did before.
Common Core Teaching Tips
To prepare students with learning challenges to meet Common Core standards, parents and teachers must ensure that any IEPs put in place are standards-based. Creating IEPs that compare students’ current level of performance with CCSS is critical for identifying the specific accommodations and supports that will maximize students’ chances of closing the gap between their current and expected level of performance. For example, students with ADHD who are struggling to reach CCSS in English language arts may benefit from the use of software that turns spoken words into written text, while those falling behind in math may welcome desk copies of fact sheets and charts to help compensate for their memory difficulties.
The recommendations made in standards-based IEPs will affect students’ progress throughout the school year, so it is essential for parents and teachers to work together and be as specific as possible to ensure that students receive timely access to the help they require.
End the Academic Struggle
If your child is having difficulty learning under the new common core curriculum or appears to have marked issues with motor development, we invite you to consider the Brain Balance Program. Our carefully structured and coordinated combination of program elements helps establish proper brain and body function leading to an improved ability to learn. We encourage you to contact us for a free consultation and learn more about our comprehensive assessment to better understand what is at the root of your child’s issues.