Classroom Matters or SOS for smart but scattered tween?

Our 7th grader was diagnosed with a mild case of ADHD. It seems to affect their life the most when staying on task and turning in assignments for school. We are interested in getting some additional outside help.
I’d appreciate any feedback, positive and negative about Classroom Matters and SOS4STUDENTS. What was great about them and what was not? Were they helpful? Did you or didn’t you notice an improvement in organizational skills, and completing assignments thoughtfully and on time? 

Thank You

Parent Replies

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The single most helpful thing for my ADHD kid (plus other learning disabilities) was getting a 504 plan.  His needs have changed over the years, and the 504 plan changes with his needs.

I haven’t used SOS4STUDENTS, but their website aligns with what has been helpful for my kid:

1.  Help with a 504 plan.  My kid will likely need accommodations throughout his full educational experience.  The specifics change a bit, as he gets older.  His need for extra time, flexible due dates, and the chance to check in with his teachers to better understand assignments have been continuous.  My kid is a junior in high school and is taking a heavy AP course load, and it would not be possible without his accommodations.  Because of the 504 plan, my kid has qualified for the extra time that he needs on his AP exams and SAT.

2.  Study Environment that supports my kid.  Through trial and error, we have discovered that the most productive study space is a desk in the middle of the living room.  He needs to be in the middle of family activities to help him stay focused.  He uses noise canceling headphones when we are too loud, but he stays in the middle of the living room.  He says that it helps him to stay on task when he feels seen.  Figuring out a great study environment for your kid is key.

3.  Brain breaks.  My kid can hyper focus sometimes, and it’s really important to take breaks at least every hour.  Playing with the dog on the floor and taking a quick walk are very helpful.

4.  Learning to self-advocate.  This is a great life skill for anyone, and it’s crucial for kids that need help.  In middle school, my kid did not want to stick out or look different, and he really needed a parent or adult to advocate for him.  In high school, my kid is becoming much better about going to the guidance counselor and teachers directly.  He asks the guidance counselor to help pick teachers and classes that can support his need for extra time and flexible due dates.  Then, he works directly with his teachers to negotiate for extra time on tests or extended due dates for out of class assignments.  This is a very difficult skill, and an advocate could really help in this area.

5.  Embracing that kiddo will always be a little bit different.  Most school accommodations try to allow a kid to fit into a specific classroom mold.  The school environment is very specific.  A kid can be brilliant and amazing, while also not fitting neatly into the school environment.  I am constantly reminding myself that learning and growth are more important than letter grades.  I know that there is an amazing life ahead for my kid, and it may play out a little bit differently than for others.  My kid’s lack of mental conformity is the exact thing that allows him to think deeply and have interesting insights.  My mantra for the past two years has been “comparison is the thief of joy”!

I hope that this helps as you decide whether to use either of the resources that you are considering.  Everything is a process.  Find mentors, advocates, or programs that help you and kiddo be calmer, optimistic, and joyful about the future.  :)

My kid went to both. SoS had some good aspects but for us especially with dealing w/ school Classroom Matters was way more effective. Tatiana at CM is amazing.

Classroom Matters has been a huge help for us. They really understand issues with executive functioning challenges (and ADHD) and how to help and support kiddos dealing with those challenges. They have fantastic rapport with kids dealing with this; get that their challenges are beyond their control. I appreciate their approach that the kids should not be blamed for these problems they're struggling with. Tatiana has been a huge help for our resistant teenage son; her ability to relate to him at his level and fully understand what he’s going through has been incredibly helpful. He has not been officially diagnosed with ADHD, but he has a difficult time staying on task, keeping track of assignments and remembering to turn them in. She has given him concrete suggestions that work for him which has made an enormous difference for him (has helped boost his self-confidence). She’s also incredibly generous and has advocated for him with our school. She is skilled at reviewing 504s and recommending how they can be improved. I recommend Classroom Matters to friends who are struggling with these issues all the time, and I live in San Diego!