Teachers are very familiar with Attention Deficit Disorder(ADHD) and the impact it has on the learning environment and student performance in their classrooms.
To understand the symptoms of ADHD, here are three student profiles:
Justin has been diagnosed with ADHD. His records show that he has above average intelligence, but his grades seldom make it above a “C”. Justin does well on tests and quizzes because he picks up the information he hears what is being taught in the classroom, even though he doesn’t look like it. He loses a lot of his completed work somewhere between home and school or between school and home. He often takes home notes from his teachers that say that “Justin is not working up to his potential.”
Down the hall, Brianna is turned around in her seat. She has stuck small pieces of Scotch tape all over her face. She isn’t paying attention to the instruction going on at the front of the room and neither are any of the kids sitting near her. They are looking at Brianna, laughing, and are waiting to see what the teacher is going to do about Brianna this time. One thing is for sure, Brianna’s teacher is not going to ask Brianna a question about the instructional topic. This teacher has figured out that Brianna will know the answer in spite of her apparent inattention to the lesson.
In the same class,Michael is busy taking apart his mechanical pencil. He’s humming a tune and tapping out the beat with what is left of the pencil. When the teacher asks him to write something down on his paper, he won’t be ready because his pencil is in pieces. Another student gives Michael a regular pencil and, like a shot, Michael is out of his seat and has raced to the pencil sharpener and is grinding away at what is now left of this wooden pencil.
“Michael!” the teacher says for the umteenth time today. Instruction stops while the teacher writes a note to Michael’s parents telling them that Michael is disrupting the class again today.
Many of the school-aged students with ADHD are above average in ability, but their grades are low because they cannot focus on instruction, hate to write things down, and they lose their assignments and belongings.
Students with ADHD need interactive types of learning activities and alternate assessments to demonstrate mastery of learning objectives.
The school-aged child with ADHD is capable of higher level thinking and can outshine his or her peers with creativity and problem-solving skills. The key to help kids with ADHD to focus at school and to do homework is to pose a challenge to them. Here are some time-tested suggestions:
1. Offer tangible rewards based on short-term goals
2. Assign a mini-lesson for the student with ADHD to teach to the parent or to the class.
3. Provide choices for fulfilling the assignment.
4. Help the student to design a time line to get longer assignments done.
5. Permit all students to use colored pencils and other colorful, textured materials.
6. Allow students to sit on seat cushions at their desks as the cushions help them manage their antsi-ness.
7. Design an organization system in which the student can be successful. Give the student a chance to make suggestions.