Blog on Special Educational Needs - Asian College of Teachers

Various Ways to Help Students with ADHD

3rd April 2020

ADHD is an abbreviation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is marked with a deficit in attention and thus, shows symptoms of short attention span, making careless mistakes, appearing forgetful or losing things, appearing to face difficulty in sticking to task that are time consuming, constantly changing activity or task, finding difficulty in organising task and unable to carry out instructions. Due to their hyperactivity and impulsiveness they are unable to sit still and are found constantly fidgeting. They can be very talkative and interrupt conversation without waiting for their turn. Their actions run much ahead of their thoughts and thus they end up acting or doing things with impulsion and without thinking.

In the purview of such challenging circumstances, teachers and educators should be equipped with methods and approaches to enhance learning efficacy in the classroom environment and thus, ADHD training for teachers becomes imperative to learn to find out ways to help students with ADHD. In the following sections, we shall delve into the depths of managing the behavioural disorders of students with ADHD within the classroom to achieve our objective of constructive and effective learning.

Strategies to help Students with ADHD

Thinking of being a teacher or a special educator of children with ADHD? Then, first and foremost, we need to know about the individual needs and expectations and identify the areas of strength of the student we are dealing with. Some of the strategies that can be followed are listed below:

1. Be kind to yourself: Being a teacher of children with ADHD needs a lot of patience, energy and calmness. However, as a human trait you may feel demoralised or demotivated when the objective of the day is not achieved. Remember to calm yourself and be proud of the fact that you tried and put in your best. ADHD training for teachers can train you with more ways to deal with such “burn-outs”.

2. Set up rules: When setting up rules, make sure you explain them well to the child along with the consequences of not abiding by them. Use “when-then” statement more often. Provide a structured environment so that the child learns to carry out his/her duties with responsibility and independence.

3. Set up reward systems: Keep the praises and words of encouragement flowing. Build up a reward system with concrete reinforcements for every deed done right. You can also introduce a token system to reinforce every learning experience of the child. Explain the pros and cons of following the rules. If the child fails to live up to your expectations, explain rather than command. However, expecting perfection in their work would be pretty much harsh to the child with ADHD as well as yourself as the mentor. Every development counts!

4. Encourage exercise: To channelize the overflowing energy of the child with ADHD it is necessary to make the child exercise with some physical activity within the classroom during the ongoing lessons as well as during breaks. The child can be taught to tap toes within the shoes or squeeze soft balls while they are given a task to finish. Actions help them to work more efficiently.

5. Break tasks down: Remember the student with ADHD is unable to sit at one place for long hours with the same level of interest and attention throughout. So, learning becomes more effective if you can break down the tasks into segments, the child with ADHD can achieve the goal through a non-threatening and happy journey.

6. Take Breaks: Take breaks to rejuvenate, re-energise and regain the willingness to work towards the goal set. Both you and your child with ADHD need them.

7. Keep the topic interesting: An engaging lesson plan with interesting teaching aids can lead the teacher-student duo to amazing heights! Whenever, planning to teach a topic keep your innovations working at its best with a special inclination to the physical activity to cut down the fidgeting during the lessons. Make sure you keep distractions to minimum both in the form of teaching aids and the use of any negative language. The child with ADHD can be hurt. ADHD training for teachers promote only words of encouragement and motivation.

8. Think out loud: This is a great way to keep the child engaged in the thought process! The child also feels more involved and wanted in the process.

9. Introduce wait time: Work with the child on the possibility and need of the wait time and repeat the exercise for every task until the child learns to wait for his/her turn to speak or do anything that requires movement. Initially, it can be of less duration and slowly can be made longer depending upon the development of the child.

10. Practice good sleep hygiene: It is very important the child with ADHD gets his/her share of good sleep every day. Involve parents and care givers to make sure that the child always has a good sleep to combat the mental fatigue that may stand as an obstacle in the learning experience with you.

Other than the behavioural management skills, ADHD training for teachers prepare us with classroom management skills as well. The strategies that can be implemented in the classroom are as follows:

  1. Seat the child with ADHD near the teacher’s desk
  2. Keep the classroom doors closed
  3. Seat the child near a good role model
  4. Help the child to keep an uncluttered desk
  5. Give precise directions and clear classroom instructions
  6. Repeat directions in simple and clear words
  7. Make a list of rules to be followed in the classroom and post them
  8. Give the child choices
  9. Allow the student with ADHD to move
  10. Encourage silent outlets of the energy
  11. Use structured prompts
  12. Use a brain breaks in the form of art or music
  13. Give second chances and make them stretch
  14. Pause between asking questions and answering
  15. Assign tasks to make the student with ADHD feel like a leader or monitor

In this blog we have also tried to share a unique learning strategy to enhance the ADHD training for teachers. It is called the FOCUS learning strategy where each letter in the word FOCUS stands for some strategy.

F – Focus on speaker

O – Open your mind

C – Connect

U – Use your eyes

S – Select

If you are wondering, how to use these in your classrooms and beyond, some tips have been discussed in the following section for an enriching ADHD training for teachers so that the teacher can make the students with ADHD practice these and help them achieve their goals.

F – Focus on speaker

F1 – Eyes and mind on the speaker

F2 – Resist talking to neighbours

F3 – Keep hands and feet quiet

O – Open your mind

O1 – Clear mind of any distraction

O2 – Be ready to learn and remember

O3 – Set your mind on the subject

O4 – Think about what is being said

C – Connect

C1 – Try to relate with what can be heard

C2 – Create a picture in your mind of the new information

C3 – Listen to other students’ related comments

U – Use your eyes

U1 – Pay attention to book, chalk, board, worksheets and visual materials

S – Select

S1 – Select important part to remember

S2 – Say important parts to yourself in your own words

S3 – Ask questions to make sure you understand

ADHD training for teachers has become essential to help the students with ADHD. It emancipates the teacher and the child equally with strategies that liberate both from the shackles of difficulties caused by ADHD. Now, go out there, believe in the immense potential of students with ADHD, hold their hands and help their impenetrable obscurity bloom into shining stars!

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