Completing homework after school can be difficult with those children who suffer from Tourette Syndrome. Tics, themselves, can create difficulties with school work, but the comorbid conditions of attention difficulties, learning difficulties and/or compulsions, homework can be even more difficult. A lot of children tend to be “wired” after school and have a difficult calming down or focusing enough to get school work completed. The following strategies can be implemented to increase homework success at home.
Get your child’s school involved
- Have an IEP or 504 plan in place to allow for accommodations as needed (such as giving homework ahead of time to allow for planning, decreasing work load, etc.)
- Make sure your teacher and counselors are engaged in your child’s learning process and understand your difficulties at home. Brainstorm with your teacher to find the best strategies for both the school and your child
- Utilize an organizational program to encourage that homework is assigned and completed in the appropriate time (as well as minimizing “lost” homework)
Movement, Movement, Movement
- Allow your child to have a 15-20 minute “homework free” time right after school. A lot of children can demonstrate increased tics right after school; therefore, work when they get home can be difficult.
- Explore different seating positions or options to allow for attention difficulties (explore laying on the floor, sitting on a therapy ball, etc.)
- Allow movement breaks periodically throughout the homework period to allow the mind to stay actively engaged
- Explore a “quiet corner” or space that your child can freely move about and work in to encourage appropriate arousal for home work
Routine and Pacing with Homework
- Explore use of a timer or a visual chart to encourage certain task completion activities using a behavioral reward system (for example: set a timer for 15 minutes then allow a break, or 5 stars for attentive effort get 5 minutes more of preferred activity after homework)
- Consistency with a daily routine is key
- Keep background distractions to a minimum (if possible). For example: keep TV or music off, use a “quiet corner”, etc.
Contact your local physician to inquire about obtaining an Occupational Therapy referral further information regarding attention and homework training.