How to Help an ADHD Child with the SAT

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Our last post gave you some important tips to help your ADHD child with the SAT. One of our readers emailed us additional insight and Helping your ADHD child with the SATwisdom that she has gained from experience with HER daughter.

For those of you with younger children, don’t skip this! There is also an amazing piece of advice I’ve never heard that you need to start on NOW. We’ve changed up some of the facts, below to protect privacy, but we’ve been given permission to share the following…

Every year from 9th grade on my child took the PSAT—Preliminary SAT—to give her practice for the time in her Junior year of high school when she would take the SAT. It cost money, but it was well worth it. However, I just assumed the school would apply for special testing accommodations for my child since a 504 plan was in place.

My child had to take the SAT and ACT two times in her Junior year—the first time was without the special accomodations. Thankfully we had time to take the test again with them in place before her senior year started! Her scores were dramatically higher with the extra time and small testing group. My child prefers the ACT to the SAT as it is easier to understand what is being asked of her.

In addition to getting accommodations for these exams, if possible try to get your child some tutoring. This especially helped with the SAT where there is a formula involved with taking the test. For example, they taught my daughter that if you have a math problem involving numbers with lots of zeroes, most likely the answer will be the number with the most zeroes in it. The SAT seemed to be more about test-taking skills where ACT was more about what your child knows.

And when applying for college, be sure you present your child in a well rounded way. My child’s test scores and GPA were not as high as other students applying to her university of choice. However, she was accepted and they were not! I may never really know why this happened, but I can only assume it was because of her college resume and essay. In the resume we included every activity and award since Kindergarten. This showed her involvement in school and community activities and gave an inside look into her talents and strengths.

I received a tip when she was in preschool: start your child’s college resume now because when you sit down to write it in when applying for college, you won’t remember everything! That was the best advice I have ever received.

The essay is a good way for your child to tell them about their ADHD. My child wrote about ADHD and how she has learned to work with it and sees it as an advantage. My child took honors courses all thru high school and passed with Bs and a few As. This is ok because, and the explanation in her essay helped her.

So together, the essay and her resume gave the college admissions team a good look at who my child is so they could determine if the college load my child was asking for would work for them. They have to ask: Can this student handle the schedule and requirements for their intended major? Colleges are not looking to keep kids out; they want to accept every child they can.

Happily, my child has been accepted into a very intensive program in the medical field at a major state university. My child’s dreams are coming true, and her parents are sooooo proud of her!!!


About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

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