Successful programs for children with ADHD integrate the following three components:
- Accommodations: what you can do to make learning easier for students with ADD/ADHD.
- Instruction: the methods you use in teaching.
- Intervention: How you head off behaviours that disrupt concentration or distract other students.
1.1 Accommodations for distractibility…
- Place him or her in a smaller class if possible
- Use preferential seating: Seat him at a desk on his own, at the front of the class or alongside a quiet and conscientious worker who won’t distract him.
- Ensure they are physically facing the teacher during instructions
- The work surface should be clear of anything except those things that are needed for the task at hand.
- Try to ensure that the class is quiet while working on tasks.
- Place a few desks against a wall that the student can choose to go sit at if he wishes to (with his back to the class and facing the wall his distractions will be limited).
1.2 Accommodation for short attention span…
- Break down tasks into small chunks that match the childs attention span, especially when doing homework.
- Allow for frequent short breaks
- Avoid repeating activities unnecessarily
- Find tasks that excite and interest the child
1.3 Accommodations for impulsivity and Hyperactivity…
- Distract the child form undesirable behaviour by presenting other stimuli
- Use “blurt alert’ for children who shout out – acknowledge them and encourage them to “park” their thought. Ignore persistent shouting out and remind them of rules on the mat when necessary.
- Teach major academic subjects and most challenging work in the morning.
- Give instructions one at a time and repeat as necessary.
- Use visuals: charts, pictures, colour coding so that you incorporate multisensory teaching whenever possible.
- Wait for the class to be quiet before giving instruction
- Alternate between active and quiet activities and between lecture or interactive activities.
- Alternate between high and low interest activities.
- Have routines for beginning and ending lessons e.g. set clear learning objectives and then review that objective at the end of the lesson.
- Teach children what to do if they end their activity early. Post a list entitled, “things to do when you done”
- Allow regular stretch or movement breaks. This can also be done by sending a child with a message or on an errand.
- Communication between home and school allows for parents to reward for good behaviours at school. Meet with the parent to discuss the goals and reward programme (linking good work to home reward system). Discuss the goals you have set with child with parent there so everyone is on board with what is expected.
- Positive reinforcement and feedback will assist the child in boosting their sense of self worth and their self esteem
- List your target behaviours – have firm classrooms rules that have set consequences. Persist with disciplinary measures that are reasonable and fair – remember, an ADHD child needs many repetitions to learn what to do, or not to do.
- Homework – give a realistic amount that can be completed within the set time. By providing too much homework, a teacher is setting up a child for conflict with his parents at the end of the day. This can have long term affects on the parent child relationship. Provide an incentive to do all the homework by having a homework free day once a week (other than Friday)
- Teach time awareness – this can be done by playing games such as “guess how long it will take to…”. Encourage self-monitoring during independent seatwork time by recording the start time on the paper. A desk clock can help them to monitor the time.