Teaching students with ADHD becomes easier once certain systems are in place. Here are ideas to help create the system that works best for the teacher, student with ADHD and the rest of the class.
Planning your Day
1. Avoid Activities that Require the Class to Sit for Long Periods of Time
Many children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder have difficulty remaining seated for long periods of time. Other children do too.
- Consider using activity centers. The assortment of activities provides multiple productive options for children with ADHD to direct their attention and efforts. It also gives students the opportunity to change places in the room instead of staying still at their desks.
- Incorporate a variety of learning styles. Activities involving movement, drawing, making models can increase the interest level for some children and help them to stay tuned in to the activity for a longer period of time.
2. Academics in the Morning
Schedule the majority of the academic sit down work to the morning. Teaching students with ADHD in the afternoon, can be challenging. Take advantage of the morning when they are fresh and have a better chance at focusing and getting their work done.
Help Students Anticipate
1. Schedule on the board
Students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder will transition more easily when they can anticipate what is next. Write the daily schedule or class schedule on the board to help them transition and remind them of what is needed from them.
2. Pep talks
Teachers are the masters of anticipation. They are always thinking about what might go wrong in a lesson in order to make changes and avoid as many issues as possible. Use this talent to help children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Give these students short pep talks to help them avoid situations that could lead to problems. Tell them what you think the issue could be and give them suggestions to help steer clear.
1. Get to Know Students
Taking time to get to know the students, their family lives, their
talents/hobbies and their likes/dislikes is the beginning of relationship building. It is important for all students to know the teacher cares about them and likes them. Because part of teaching students with ADHD involves correction and consequences, creating a positive relationship with students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder helps them to understand that you are trying to help.
2. Behavior Contract
A mutually agreed on behavior contract can be helpful. Start by choosing only one behavior to work on at a time. This provides a better opportunity for success and thus motivation to continue to work on other characteristics later. A colorful note taped to students’ desks serves to remind students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder of their objective. Catching them succeeding and reinforcing that behavior verbally is an important motivator.
3. Pre-Planned Alternatives
ADD and ADHD manifest themselves differently in each individual. Take time to observe the actions that most affect the class. Think about more appropriate alternatives and communicate these to the student. For example, if the child squirms in his seat, offer to have him stand by the counter to finish his work or lay down on a cushion in the back of the room.
Involve the Parents
1. Find out what “works” at home
When teaching students with ADHD, close communication with the family can be helpful. Find out from them what they use at home or what has worked well in other classroom situations.
2. Homework chart/notebook
Teaching students with ADHD accurately record the homework information is crucial. Parents can help if they don’t know what the assignment is. Create a homework chart or develop a homework notebook system. Students are responsible for writing down the information. Teachers can sign off at the end of class or the school day. Parents can sign off when the assignment is complete. This way everybody is clear.
About the Author:
Hardy Brain Training was founded by Sherrie Hardy and her two daughters in 2003. The business consists of two separate corporations: Hardy Brain Training, Inc., which provides unique and innovative programs to improve our clients’ lives, and Hardy Brain Training Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c)3 not-for-profit corporation. Sherrie has over 35 years of experience as a classroom teacher, school director, and perceptual-motor specialist. She holds a teaching credential, a reading and adult education credential, a Masters in Marital and Family Therapy, and a Masters in Interactive Metronome Certification (MIMC).