Steps that you can employ to teach Students with ADHD as a Teacher
ADHD or Attention Deficit/ Hyper Activity Disorder is a brain disorder characterized by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with the functioning and development of a person.
Even for a teacher, identifying the exact characteristics of a student with ADHD will require him/her to go through a course that provides for knowledge and training, like say an International Diploma in Special Needs Education. An International Diploma in Special Needs Education makes you as a teacher, realize how important it is to learn and train yourself as a special needs teacher before you teach students with special needs.
Once you are a trained teacher, you will be able to identify certain characteristics that these kids with ADHD possess. Usually these kids,
- Will lack persistence
- Will have difficulty in sustaining focus
- Span of attention is extremely low
- Can be pretty disorganized
- Moves about constantly and even so in inappropriate situations
- Is extremely restless and fidgety
- Taking impulsive actions even those that may harm others around.
These are few of the characteristics that kids and adults alike possess, varying in degree from one person to another. More than adults, kids who have lesser expressing abilities due to their age of course, has to be dealt with more patiently. That is why professional courses like an International Diploma in Special Needs Education stand important.
Teaching children with ADHD can be a really tough challenge. You as a teacher know that they have the brain power but just because they lack the ability of focusing attention, they are unable to focus on the lesson that you are trying so hard to deliver. You know that the child is trying but the disorder in their brain just won’t let them focus.
So let’s look at some of the common classroom challenges that teachers face while teaching students with ADHD.
- The problem with kids with ADHD are that their brain lacks the power of organizing and planning and hence with these kids, it will often happen that they forget to note down their homework assignments , complete them or bring their homework to school.
- They often have very weak motor skills as a result of this disorder which makes it difficult for them to take down notes and further their handwriting skills are as a result very faulty.
- As they are characterized by restlessness, it makes them demand for more attention by constantly talking and also by moving around the classroom without the permission of the teacher.
- Managing short term projects sometimes may be easy for these children, but it is the long term projects that they have a problem with. It is very difficult for them to carry out long term projects without continuous direct supervision.
- With a lack of persistence these children may not contribute and collaborate in case of a group work and may even keep a group from achieving its goals.
- Kids with ADHD also have great difficulty in following instructions and especially so, when they are presented with an organized list; and also with operations that require ordered and planned steps and a lot of focus, such as long division or solving equations.
So how can you as a teacher help children with ADHD problems? For this you will need a lot of creativity, patience and consistency. You have to evaluate your student’s individual needs and strengths and accordingly design policies that might help them in focusing attention and developing their capabilities in whole. To acquire all these skills as a teacher, courses like an International Diploma in Special Needs Education will surely help you.
So now, let’s look at the possible options whereby you can help children/students with ADHD-
- Seat the student with ADHD away from windows and away from doors. Put her/his desk right in front of your desk lest it’s a distraction for him/ her. Also seating arranged according to a row system is much more beneficial than other kinds of arrangement, because with rows the focus is directly on the teacher. During tests make sure that the whole area is free from distractions and is calm and quiet.
- Children with ADHD have the most difficult time in sustaining focus. So as a teacher you have to be patient. When reading out a lesson or instructions, make sure that you deliver them at a slow pace, one at a time and repeat if necessary. Use visually attractive codes: chart papers, pictures, a lot of color coding etc. Make sure that you work on the most difficult lesson earlier in the day, because at that part of the day usually the minds of children are much fresher than compared to later in the day.
- Test students with ADHD in a way that suits them the best. Oral tests and fill in the blanks, short quizzes rather than long tests, reducing the number of timed tests, accepting late work and giving practical credit for practical work etc is the methodology you can us to test them.
- Again as ADHD students lack organization, you as a teacher have to help them in their organizational skills. Make sure that your student has a system of noting down assignment and dates and uses it well. Give ample of time to the students to organize materials and assignments for home. Have your students keep a master binder, with a separate section for each subject and make sure the right materials are put into the correct section.
By following these steps, you can surely help your students with ADHD focus a lot more and hence perform better in the academic system and in life. Now as a teacher, learning these steps will require training and intensive training and a lot of knowledge, which only courses like an International Diploma in Special Needs Education, can offer. Help your students with special needs in overcoming the difficulties and obstacles posed by the disorder and thus excel in life.