Fact Sheets : Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) In The Classroom
It's not surprising that ADHD is usually first diagnosed only once the child begins school, when increased demands on his/her attention span make the condition more apparent. Here are some helpful strategies to help deal with ADHD at school:
- A personalized education plan should be designed which addresses individual strengths and weaknesses. In general, ADHD students do better when they're given shorter work periods, and extra classroom structure, direction, previews, reminders and encouragement.
- Focusing on too many goals or objectives at once is often confusing and counter-productive - so only a few objectives should be focused on at a time.
- Because ADHD children are easily distracted, assignments should be broken down into smaller, less complex parts, and encouragement should be provided as each stage is completed. Questions directed at the ADHD child should begin with the child's name, followed by a pause, to signal the child to pay close attention.
- Visual, as well as verbal instructions may be needed. Establishing frequent eye contact and placing the student in the front row, near the teacher's desk, can also help. Students should put away unnecessary items, and a work area should be provided which is free of distractions.
- The child with ADHD may also need extra help developing social skills like taking turns, listening skills, and in task planning, note taking, and memorization.
- With appropriate guidance, pairing the ADHD student with other students can aid the child's attention to the task at hand and provide good lessons in dealing with groups.
- Students with ADHD should be given extra time on tests to more accurately assess their knowledge. Confidence should be built from the start of projects with questions the student can successfully answer, and tasks they can easily complete.
- ADHD children are more successful when they can see what's coming. Therefore, an activities schedule should be posted in the classroom and frequently referred to. Students should be warned of any upcoming change in activities.
- Homework assignments need to be clearly indicated. Each day, the child should write down a homework list which the teacher should then check for accuracy. To aid parent-teacher communications, teachers and parents can work together to maintain a school-to-home notebook, to keep track of homework and other academic and behavioral issues.
- Like parents, teachers should always be on the lookout for, and acknowledge good behavior. So reminders of success (rewards) such as stickers, tokens or progress charts can be very useful.
- While helping the child avoid boredom, the teacher should also help the child steer clear of over-stimulation. Many stressful situations can be anticipated and averted before they happen. A "time-out" location can be established which should be used as a place to calm down, not as a punishment.
- Children diagnosed with ADHD may be taking some form of medication to help control their condition. If this is the case, all of the child's teachers should be aware and be informed about any possible side-effects of the child's medication.