Students (with ADHD) learn best within carefully structured environments. Watch as the strategies listed below, paraphrased from US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, align with our formal observation/evaluation form.
- Before beginning a lesson, preview your expectations about what students will learn and how they should behave during the lesson. (State and write objectives)Standard A
- Be consistent! Peform ongoing student evaluation, watch for signs of daydreaming or visual/verbal indications of frustration (playing in desk, drawing, flipping pages in book, angry facial expression) Standard E
- Provide follow-up directions. ORAL: after giving directions to the class as a whole, provide attional oral directions for a child with ADHD. Ask the child if they understood the directions, or to repeat the directions together. WRITTEN: Write objectives, assignments, and the page number for the assignment on the board, remind students to look at the board if they forget. Standard D
- Divide work into smaller units. Break down assignments into smaller, less complex tasks. For example, allow students to complete five math problems before giving them another five. Standard B
- Provide advance warnings. Let students know that a lesson is about to end. Announce 5 or 10 minutes before the end of the lesson, how much time remains. This is extremely easy if you have the class time schedule on the board!!!!! Standard A
- Check assignments. Review with some students what they have learned during the lesson to get a sense of how ready the class was for the lesson and how to plan for the next lesson. ADHD students will often tell you they "get it." Make them repeat exactly what "they get" to ensure accuracy. Standard B
Many students with ADHD are easily distracted and have difficulty focusing their attention on assigned tasks. However, these practices can help children improve their organization of homework and other daily assignments.
- Designate a "student advisor." Permit students to pair up with each other to assist in planning and organizing before and after school. They could help record homework, file worksheets, and fill and empty the backpack with necessary materials.
- Allow time to clean out desks and book bags. Remind the child, on a regular basis, to sort through and clean out their desk, homework folders, or book bag.
- Create a check list of materials to go home, materials needed at school...etc. Post check list on desk as a visual reminder.
As we already know, well-managed classrooms prevent many disciplinary problems. Behavioral interventions should be viewed as an opportunity for teaching in the most effective and efficient manner, rather than as an opportunity for punishment. The mose effective intervention is VERBAL REINFORCEMENT. Positive reinforcement produces the changes in attitudes that will shape a students' behavior over the long term. A few reminders...
- Define the appropriate behavior while giving praise. Be specific to a student, not always whole class.
- Give praise immediately.
- Vary the statements. The same praise statement made over and over eventually loses its value.
- Be consistent and sincere. Beware of false praise.
Other behavioral interventions:
- Selectively ignore inappropriate behavior.
- Physically remove nuisance items in desk...rubber bands, broken pencils, barrets. This works best after the student has been given the choice of putting it away immediately and then fails to do so.
- Allow for outlets. Permit students with ADHD to leave the class on an errand, provide them an honorary job that will give them the opportunity to get out of their chair occasionally.
- Proximity control. Tap the desk or shoulder of someone when you need to regain attention.
Do you have other suggestions? Use the comments link below to share with us the strategies or interventions that have worked well, or maybe not so well in your experiences.