Making the Move to Middle School

Beginning a new school year often comes with a large dose of anxiety for children with LD and ADHD who have struggled with academics in the past. But even more daunting is when a new school year also means a step up in grade level to a new school.

The transition from elementary to middle school coincides with the transition to adolescence. In addition to facing the perils of puberty and peer pressure, middle school students with LD may need extra support to help them deal with the following issues:

  • Larger, more diverse school population
  • Greater extracurricular options
  • Lockers
  • Transportation (bus, carpools, etc.)
  • Changing classrooms
  • Multiple teachers
  • School dances and trips
  • New grading standards
  • Interaction with older kids
  • Increased academic requirements and homework
Take Action

If your child is struggling with the transition to middle school, try these strategies:

  • Help her connect the new experience with the old. Together make a list of the features she liked in her pervious school and find similar features in her new school.
  • Break down his concerns into manageable steps. Worried about finding and opening his locker? Let him practice with a similar one at home. Anxious about all the extracurricular options? Help him find one or two that he’s good at and will enjoy participating in.
  • It’s not too late to walk her through the school after hours or on a Saturday. Becoming familiar with the layout will help allay fears about being late to class or getting lost on the way
  • Encourage him to express his concerns, prodding him to be as specific as possible. Respond with positive stories from your childhood about similar situations and how you coped.