Responding to this question is Dr Catherine Frogley, Clinical Psychologist and Education Lead at Lighthouse Arabia. Dr Frogley’s expertise extends to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Narrative therapy, Family-based therapy, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.
First of all, I am sorry to hear that your daughter is not feeling supported and understood at school. It must be very hard for her to go to school if she does not feel that people understand her specific needs and perhaps she is not reaching her true potential.
I would like to check if your daughter has had a psycho-educational assessment and has this been shared with the school? This type of assessment involves a comprehensive review of her current cognitive, academic, executive and socio-emotional functioning. Not only does this provide crucial information about a diagnosis, but it also identifies areas of strength and weakness and makes a number of recommendations that are based on her specific needs and strengths. For example, a student who struggles with visual-spatial reasoning (e.g. reading a map, operating a tool) but has a particular strength in verbal reasoning (using language), can repeat words or phrases to help them with such tasks.
Therefore, I would first encourage you to have this assessment if you haven’t already and to share the findings of the report with the school. Every school in the UAE will have an inclusion team who work together to ensure that education is inclusive for children with a variety of needs. You can request a meeting with them and they will develop an IEP (Individualised Education Plan) for your child which will consider individual learning goals and areas of support. You may wish to invite the psychologist who completed the assessment to join you and share their suggestions too.
A child with a diagnosis of ADHD is normally entitled to support within the classroom and accommodations such as shortened assignments or extra time as they will take considerably more time to complete assignments than their same-age classmates due to difficulties with attention. They may also benefit from adapted learning such as visual cues or audio recordings of the classes, preferential seating away from the visual and auditory distractions and many more based on your child’s individual needs. Communication between you and the school will be important to monitor your daughter's progress and review learning goals and recommendations throughout her school career. This information should also be shared from one teacher to the next in subsequent years of schooling.
I hope this helps and I am wishing you and your daughter all the best.
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To book an appointment with Dr Frogley, call Lighthouse Arabia on +971(0)4 380 2088.