Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) child
Characteristics and catering to their needs
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) show signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity in specific ways. These children:
- Are in constant motion
- Squirm and fidget
- Do not seem to listen
- Have trouble playing quietly
- Often talk excessively
- Interrupt or intrude on others
- Are easily distracted
- Do not finish tasks
Challenges created by students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
- They demand attention by talking out of turn or moving around the room; they don’t pull their weight during group work and may even keep a group from accomplishing its task.
- They have trouble following instructions, especially when they’re presented in a list, and with operations that require ordered steps, such as long division or solving equations.
- They often forget to write down homework assignments, do them, or bring completed
work to school.
- They often lack fine motor control, which makes note-taking difficult and handwriting a
trial to read.
- They usually have problems with long-term projects where there is no direct supervision.
Ideas for Teaching Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The following list may assist teachers who work with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) students. For an overview of this disorder see, “Attention – Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder in Children.”
1. Understand the struggle a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) has and provide an ordered, safe, predictable classroom environment.
2. Establish a courteous, working relationship with the student’s parents. Learn about their child’s strengths, weaknesses, interests and achievements outside of school. Ask what teaching methods have been most effective with their child. Communicate often and send encouraging notes home.
3. Make time to speak to the student individually. Be respectful and express interest in his or her success in school by asking how he or she learns best.
4. Decide together on a sign or a code that you can use to remind the child to be on task. For example, make eye contact and touch your ear or pick up a particular object. Or, you could hold up one or two fingers.
5. Make classroom rules clear and concise. Discuss them orally and post them for easy reference. Explain the consequences for misbehavior in understandable terms and enforce them consistently. Avoid power struggles.
6. Use a point system, tokens, stars, or other methods to reinforce appropriate behaviors
7. Notice and provide feedback on any improvement in the areas of behavior and academics. Avoid criticizing the child in front of others.
8. Give directions in simple, concrete terms. Simplify instructions, tasks and assignments. Have the child complete one step before introducing the second step.
9. Divide lessons into relatively short segments and use a variety of teaching aids such as films, tapes, computer programs and small group work to reinforce the child’s learning.
10. Provide the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) student opportunities to display his or her skills, talents and/or leadership ability.
11. Prepare for transitions by providing a warning when a change is to occur. A musical clue may be helpful. Try playing classical music or a recording of nature sounds during work time.
12. Have the entire students stand and stretch, run in place, or do an exercise or movement activity when deemed necessary.
13. Color code paper for each subject. If available use off white, tan or light blue colored paper for written assignments.
14. Create schedules, outlines, lists, and/or a homework assignment book to help the student keep organized as well as to increase home/school communication. Tape a copy of the class schedule to the child’s desk.
15. Modify required homework to accommodate students who are severely impacted with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD). Avoid busy, redundant assignment.
16. Direct young Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) children to trace their handprints on the front and back of a folder to carry with them wherever they go. Have them place their hands on top of the traced ones to help them remember to keep their hands to themselves.
17. Pause before asking questions or ask the inattentive child a question to gain his or her focus. Use the student’s name or interests in neutral ways during discussions.
18. Walk around the room and pat the child gently on the shoulder or tap the place in the child’s book that is being read to help him or her stay on task.
19. Seat the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) child in close proximity to you and in the area that has the least amount of distractions and stimulation, i.e. doors, windows and active students.
20. Watch for signs of increasing stress in a hyperactive child. You may want to reduce the workload or provide an opportunity for the child to release some energy.
21. Provide opportunities for physical activity. Choose the hyperactive child to hand out papers or do other classroom jobs that can help release pent up energy and contribute to his or her feeling of self-worth.
22. Encourage the child to use self-monitoring techniques to help focus.
23. Allow a student who seems to be sensitive to fluorescent light to wear a visor or baseball cap in class.
24. Be flexible and allow a child with the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) disorder to stand up or squat in his chair if it helps the student complete assignments. Or, let him or her sit on the floor by you or on a large ball if that helps the child do the work
25. Furnish two desks facing each other or side-by-side for one Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) student. The child can move freely back and forth or lounge between the desks as long as he or she stays on task and in the designated area.
26. Provide a cubicle or quiet area for the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) student to use when overwhelmed by classroom activity.
27. If necessary, furnish a specific area marked off by tape that is only his or her space that no one else can enter.
28. Encourage sensitivity as the child interacts with peers. If he or she lacks social awareness, it might be helpful to say something like, “Mary looked unhappy when you spoke to her.
29. Have older students or volunteer parents serve as tutors for these students.
30. Establish a collaborative relationship with the special education teacher, school psychologist, school counselor, administrator and/or other specialist in the school to ascertain the best placement for the child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD).