Today we’re going to talk about how to support students who have ADHD or ADD.
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and ADD stands for attention deficit disorder. ADD is an older term; we now refer to it as ADHD but for the purpose of this article, I wanted to mention both in case you use one term and aren’t familiar with the other one.
Students who have ADHD struggle with impulse control, attention and hyperactivity. While this usually develops when a child is young, it may not always be diagnosed until they are adolescents because some of the signs of can be fairly similar to the way every other child behaves.
Some signs of ADHD are:
- Difficulty planning.
- Problems with multitasking.
- Extremely restless and in need of constant activity.
- Poor time management skills.
This is not an exhaustive list but it’s a good starting point for teachers who are wondering if their student has ADHD.
Keep in mind that the above-mentioned signs are true for many children, so you’re looking for more extreme behavior.
All of the following methods can be used with your whole class so as not to isolate your student.
#1. Be Flexible
Sitting behind a desk might be difficult for your student, so ensure you have flexible seating, like a cushion, a mini carpet to sit on the floor, or a place for your student to stand up, like a standing desk.
Your child may need to move a part of their body so give them access to a band to move their arms or legs or an item to chew on.
Provide instructions in different ways. You can write them on the board, verbally state them, or have children repeat them for you.
#2. Minimize Distractions
Distractions can be an issue for any child, let alone a child who has ADHD.
Classrooms have a lot going on so it’s important to limit distracts as best as possible by having your student sit closer to you instead of by the door or window. If the class next door to you is too loud, close your door and turn on some “white noise,” like classical music so that your student has a specific point of focus.
#3. Sensory Space
When the rest of your class is focused but your student who has ADHD is vibrating with energy, create a space where they can move without distracting the rest of the class. This will help them calm down their mind and body so that they’re better able to focus.
Since you may not have a designated sensory area in your school or EA (Educational Assistant) support to help you take them there, create sensory space in your classroom on a shoestring budget, by checking out the following resources and choosing the ones that work best for your child’s learning needs. These are designed to help you track your child’s thoughts and progress.
Depending on the level of your students, I’ve also created a resource that will help you differentiate for them:
#4. Hands-On Learning
Pen to paper work doesn’t work for an extended period of time, so implement tactile learning whenever possible. Use manipulates and technology or integrate experiments so that students can engage with their learning and have a visual representation to capture their interest.
#5. Integrate Breaks
It doesn’t matter what grade you teach, give your students opportunities for movement by enjoying some brain breaks. When you notice that your student is getting fidgety, have them go to the sensory area. However, when that doesn’t work or if a lot of your students need a break, have them stand up and get them moving. They can have a dance break or play ice breakers.
For engaging ice breakers, check out the following resources.
Let’s recap really quickly. Today, we looked at the following:
- The signs of ADHD
- The relevance of applying the above mentioned give strategies.
- The five strategies are: be flexible, minimize distractions, sensory space, hands-on learning, and integrate breaks.
In the mean time, if planning so that you’re ahead is not your jam, then check out the following: FREE MASTERCLASS: Systematic Plan to Super Passionate.
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