ADHD Tools for the Classroom
The abbreviation stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and it is one of the most common mental disorders both kids and adults are going through. Just imagine, every 10th child needs a special treatment whereas just half of them receive it. Going through ADHD is a challenge not only for the family but for the teacher as well. School is the place where children spend nearly half of their day learning and socializing; thus, applying the ADHD tool options at school is an integral part of the complex treatment.
Let's get back to the facts and numbers to see what exactly a teacher may encounter when working with a special student.
American Psychiatric Association distinguished three following symptoms to signify ADHD:
- inattention (the child cannot focus)
- hyperactivity (the child is always energetic despite it might not fit the situation)
- impulsivity (the child is unable to control & analyze their behavior).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified two basic types of treatment needed for these kids - medication (received by 62% in the US) and behavioral treatment (received by 47% in the US). They also brought up the fact of boys being more likely to have ADHD than girls (12% vs. 5%).
In most of the cases, elementary school teachers are told about the ADHD kids in advance so that they can fix their lesson plans and modify curriculum. In the beginning, dealing with hyperactive children will take much of your time and energy. However, even one month of regular practice will make a significant change in your teaching skills and styles. Let's see some ideas you can use:
Most of the preschool classrooms are the same - all colorful with toys and papers all around. All of these details usually disturb an ADHD kid more than his or her classmates. So, what manipulations can you follow to minimize the risks without completely changing the setting itself?
- Try to place an ADHD kid away from the windows and the doors. Children get distracted from hearing or seeing something unusual, so make sure there are more chances for them to focus on their classroom work.
- If choosing between round tables and rows, choose rows. This will make ADHD students concentrate on the teacher more than on the things going on with their classmates. If possible, welcome your special student to sit right in front of the teacher's table.
- Make sure there are no things to distract your students with sound. All the supplies, toys, and furniture should not make extra sounds during the learning process.
It's way easier for parents to prepare their kid for school in terms of supplies; however, you can work out particular systems for using those. This will increase the level of self-discipline and organization, which is a great skill for all the students and their further learning experience.
- Practice using color-codes for the student materials and always follow the rules you set. If parents are aware of this system and encourage it as well, the kid will get used to systemizing his/her supplies on a daily basis;
- Create a special notes system for writing down important dates and assignments. Psychologists say this repetitive process can be gamified as well.
- Make sure the students have separate binders for all of your subjects. If they are divided into the same segments, giving instructions and organizing your activities will take less time.
No one doubts your teaching excellence, however, some tricks help out when working with hyperactive kids.
- Provide clear instructions and repeat them unless all the students are on the same page;
- Make all the information you deliver as dynamic as you can. This process is energy-consuming; however, using visuals will allow you to exploit ADHD symptoms in a good way. Slides, videos, diagrams, coloring books, charts, and games - kids love those! Needless to say, these tools will improve memorizing skills and organization.
- When creating a schedule, put the hardest activities in the very beginning. Experiment with the breaks according to the group dynamics
Some other tips you should practice daily
- Start and end your class with the same sound (horn, bell, or egg timer)
- Try using more personal statements than the ones about "we" or "us"
- Remember about positive reinforcement and stress out good things about the child's behavior
- Don't pay attention to that misbehavior that doesn't heavily affect the learning process
- Speak less for the ADHD kids to stay focused on you without switching the channel.
It's not a secret - ADHD kids are a challenge affecting you as a teacher and the other students. However, you should also remember that all the things you do for organizing their behavior are a precious contribution to meeting each child's needs..
Author bioJennifer Broflowski is an expert at a Canadian essay writing service. By teaching at the preschool, she found that dealing with ADHD is a necessary tool for all educators despite their students' age. Now, Broflowski can add one more valuable teaching skill to her CraftResumes profile.