Many individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) deal with difficulties in the classroom. ADHD is one of the most common learning disorders that affects 5-10% of school-aged children.
While there are no clear guidelines for educating students with ADHD, there are several strategies that teachers and parents can use to help them succeed.
Aside from incorporating social-emotional learning, here are eight steps you can apply to any teaching environment, regardless of subject or grade level.
1. Set short-term and long-term goals.
The first step in helping students with ADHD is to set short and long-term goals for them. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
If a goal is too vague or general, it won’t be as effective at helping you reach your goal and will lead to frustration and failure.
Having specific measurement points help keep students on track with their progress so that there’s no confusion about how much progress has been made.
Especially within the learner's current resources (time, energy levels) and abilities (physical health).
2. Provide options for completing assignments.
Give learners with ADHD a choice of options for completing assignments, so they can decide what works best for them. For example, you could give them the option to complete it at home, or school.
You could also offer different times and days as an alternative way of completing an assignment.
3. Preferential seating to manage distractions
While this may seem like an oversimplification, it can help students with ADHD manage distractions. This can be achieved by segregating learners with different needs.
Seating them away from windows, corridors, in front of the class, or at the back of the class allows them to take advantage of the learning resources without distraction.
4. Provide fidget tools to help with focus
Fidget tools help with focus, stress, anxiety, and attention. Fidget tools can help relieve boredom by keeping learners active. They can also help reduce stress by providing a distraction from the task at hand.
Some fidget tools are used as part of learning activities such as drawing or writing (e.g., pencils). Other types of fidget objects include stress balls, rubber ducks, marble mazes, and Rubik's cubes.
A study by Stalvey et al. (2006) showed that fidget tools improve attention and executive functions in kids with ADHD.
5. Use checklists to help kids stay organized
To keep track of assignments, many students with ADHD have a hard time staying focused on the task at hand. This can be especially true when they have several items on their list and need to work through them one by one.
To make this easier for your child, you could use a checklist as a tool for organizing tasks into stages or steps that lead up to completion.
1) Write down what I need
2) Make sure my notebook is filled out
3) Write down additional details about each assignment (if needed).
In this way, he or she can complete all three items before moving on to something new.
6. Provide regular movement breaks
One way to implement movement breaks is by having students move their bodies in a pattern that’s similar to the one you’re trying to teach them. For example, if you’re teaching math, have them sit up tall and count aloud.
Another option is to ask them if they want some water or cookies during some of these breaks; as this will help keep your class engaged while they take a break from learning!
You can also ask someone else in your class who has ADHD if they’d like to help in keeping track of things like attendance or testing scores—that way there’s always someone around who knows what needs to be done!
7. Work with the student’s strengths and limitations
Use the student’s strengths to motivate them and make it clear that you value their contributions. Give them more time to complete their work so they can learn by doing, rather than just reading or watching a video.
Also, explain why they are doing something before they try it, and use visual aids (e-learning) if possible. If a student has difficulty understanding instructions, provide an alternative method of completing the task at hand.
8. Notice and praise students for getting things right
Parents and teachers can help children with ADHD by noticing when they are doing something right and rewarding them for their efforts. This will encourage them to continue doing the right thing in the future.
For example, if they always put their books away before leaving the classroom after reading time is over, let them know how proud you are of their neatness! Give feedback on everything from small accomplishments (like tidying up) to big ones (like completing a difficult math problem).
We hope this article has helped shed some light on how to help kids with ADHD get the most out of school. Remember that every student is different, and there is no one-size fits all approach. The key is to find a strategy that works for each child.
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If your child feels distracted or overwhelmed in a classroom setting, one-on-one tutoring can be especially helpful, as it provides more structure, encouragement, and incentives to students.
It also gives your child important tools for dealing with ADHD, such as organizational and time-management skills.
At Good Hope Tutoring Services, we find your child’s passion and play to their strengths, helping them become a self-directed learner. Above all, we set your child up for success in their academics and career.
If you think you're ready to see what we can offer, book a FREE 15 minutes consultation with us today!