Looking for a boarding school for kids with ADHD? Rest assured, there are a number of boarding schools in the U.S that have the skilled teaching staff and learning environment to accommodate ADHD students. These boarding schools in the U.S., (typically for grades 7-12) offer excellent academics that include special learning strategies geared for students with learning differences.
First, let’s look at the signs and symptoms of Attention- Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),, then review some reasons to choose a boarding school, as well as provide resources to find the best boarding school for students with ADHD.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
First and foremost, know that you are not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.” If you have a son, perhaps you are facing what seems like a crisis in his education as the numbers of boys with ADHD continue to grow. However, keep in mind that ADHD affects both boys and girls and it is important to watch for the signs.
If you are wondering about the typical signs of ADHD, this list by Mayo Clinic can be a helpful starting point: “impulsiveness, disorganization and problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, problems focusing on a task, trouble multitasking, excessive activity or restlessness, poor planning, low frustration tolerance, frequent mood swings, problems following through and completing tasks, hot temper, and trouble coping with stress.” Remember that just because your child displays some of these symptoms does not mean he or she has ADHD, but it is a good place to start a conversation with an experienced practitioner who can properly diagnose the condition.
5 Reasons to Choose a Boarding School for ADHD
In researching private schools, look beyond the core curricula and check the full suite of programs and support services offered at private schools for ADHD. Although many families might feel their teen is not ready to live away from home while attending middle school or high school, attending a boarding school does provide a 24/7 immersive experience that can sometimes address ADHD more fully. But you may still be asking whether a “boarding school for ADHD is a good choice for my child?” Here are 5 compelling reasons to consider a boarding school to support your child with ADHD.
Academic programs that address or mitigate learning differences may include: testing and assessments, academic support services such as: special classes designed to provide learning strategies and one-on-one support, social-emotional counseling and full college planning services.
In researching boarding schools that can provide successful learning strategies for your child with ADHD, look beyond the core curricula. To gain a full understanding of the programs and support services offered at your top choice private schools, it is wise to contact their admission offices. Here are some key reasons why a boarding school could be a good fit for your child with ADHD:
1. Academic Supports Make an Impact on ADHD
- Learning Strategies – Learning Strategies programs are a means to provide students with ADHD the skills framework to improve learning skills, as well receive social/emotional support. They help students learn time management, study habits, stress management, and provide additional help with homework and classroom projects.
- Counseling Services – ADHD students often require positive reinforcement as they may have experienced isolation, frustration, and other stressors due to their ADHD. ADHD boarding schools typically have a counseling department to address social/emotional issues, academic scheduling, as well as college planning services.
- Hands-on Learning – Students with ADHD often learn best when they are mentally engaged. Look for a boarding school where there are small class sizes, interactive lessons, opportunities to work in teams, and learn life skills.
- Career Oriented Electives – ADHD students may suffer from low self-esteem, so confidence is often boosted when they have a chance for positive reinforcement in areas of interest. Boarding schools with learning strategies programs for students with ADHD, may offer electives in areas such as: aviation, cyber security, computer science, game development, video production, and the visual and performing arts.
2. Co-Curriculars Provide Positive Reinforcement
- Physical Fitness and Sports – Teens with ADHD have a chance for positive reinforcement in athletics. Health and fitness builds resilience, relieves stress and also helps students perform better in class. Look for a boarding school near you with a robust athletics program.
- Co-Curricular Activities – Beyond academics, kids with ADHD need to have fun and face new challenges. Make sure you check out the clubs and school activities at boarding schools. Boarding school life may include a highly diverse offering of trips and clubs.
3. ADHD Kids Need Leadership Training
- Leadership Training – ADHD students need a chance to take the lead and receive special recognition. Boarding school life,, especially at military boarding schools, has a strong focus on life skills and leadership training. For instance, Army and Navy Academy, a boarding school for boys in San Diego county, models their training after the top service academies: West Point (USMA) and Annapolis (USNA).
- Associated Student Body (ASB) – To be a class officer can help teens with ADHD forge new skills as they manage and direct campus projects. It also enhances executive function skills as they learn how to manage people, projects, and adhere to deadlines.
4. Way to Enhance Self-Discipline in Kids with ADHD
- Values – As you check out boarding schools with ADHD programs and services, look for schools aligned with your values. Character development programs help teens with ADHD develop a moral compass as they navigate decisions and choices.
- Structure – Some boarding schools, in particular military schools, offer a highly structured schedule to help students with ADHD set goals, establish daily priorities, and strengthen executive function skills.
- Executive Function Emphasis – Boarding schools for ADHD are ideally equipped to help students improve executive functioning. According to Harvard Health, “executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.”
5. Mentorship and Guidance for Students with ADHD
- Mentorship – More than ever, teenagers need mentorship and guidance. Boarding schools have residential life staff that help ADHD students navigate after-school activities, including: sports, fitness, clubs, nutrition, hygiene, mental health, study time, and weekend activity choices.
- Guidance – The faculty and staff at boarding schools take a personal interest in every student under their care and often play an instrumental role in the development of goals, life skills and good life habits. This can be a real life changer for kids with ADHD.
- Caring and supportive staff – In general, ADHD boarding schools offer a level of support not commonly found in most public or private day schools. The faculty and staff at boarding schools may offer after-school tutorials, evening office hours, supervised study time as well as support after classes and in the dorms.
How to Find the Best Boarding School for ADHD
Let’s say, you are searching under terms like how to find the best boarding school for ADHD? A number of school directories will show up, alongside specific schools and programs.**
If you are searching for ADHD Boarding Schools in California for example, or by state, you can filter by location on websites including: Boarding School Review and Boardingschools.com. On both of these sites, you will find some of the best boarding schools for ADHD, including:
- Army and Navy Academy (Carlsbad, CA)
- Dunn School (Ojai, CA)
- Cate School (Carpinteria, CA)
- Brehm Preparatory School (Carbondale, IL)
- Eagle Hill School (Hardwick, MA)
- Middlebridge School Narragansett, RI)
- The Woodhall School (Bethlehem, CT)
- Brandon Hall School (Sandy Springs, GA)
- The Bolles School (Jacksonville, FL)
- Chaminade College Prep (Creve Coeur, MO)
To find the right private school, think about your school preferences:
- Coeducational, All-Boys or All-Girls
- Desired Location – Local or regional
- Boarding School and/or Day School
- Grade Levels – Junior Boarding and/or High School
- Denominational or Non Denominational
After you narrow your list, contact the admission office to address questions, schedule a campus tour, and complete the application process.
Resources to Find the Best ADHD Boarding School:
- The Association of Boarding Schools – Boardingschool.com
- Boarding School Review (boarding schools)
- Private School Review (day and boarding schools)
- Niche (day and boarding schools, rankings, reviews)
- Boarding School Websites (after you narrow your list, contact each school of interest and speak with the Office of Admission).
Contact Us. ANA is committed to public service. This means, if we are not the right fit for your specific needs, we will make an effort to help you find the right boarding school for your teen. Feel free to contact us with questions at 888.762.2338.
**Note: In search, some programs for learning differences, including Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), could come up under behavioral, therapeutic and wilderness categories. For this reason, use caution. These are not traditional boarding schools and may not even be accredited. It is much wiser to review directory listings and input your preferences and then go to a series of school websites after you narrow down your list.