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Coping With Impulsive ADHD-Caused Behaviors: Ideas for Teachers

written by: Mayflor Markusic • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/5/2012

The bane of ADHD-students is their impulsiveness that hinders their academic achievement and social maturity. Some educators believe that the lack of attention is not the only reason behind this impulsiveness. How can teachers cope with and help such students?

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    The classic textbook symptom of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the evident lack of attention. The student is incapable of completely understanding the teacher or the series of instructions. The assignments are not turned in. Books are left behind. And lessons are easily forgotten. Besides these manifestations of the lack of attention, the ADHD-diagnosed students also have difficulty in socially interacting with their peers. They find it hard to wait in line or take turns. They misread social cues and will easily regard a constructive criticism into a hostile remark. And then they say or do things that lead to undesirable consequences. Such social difficulties are not just due to the lack of attention. These are also due to impulsiveness.

    All children, of course, are impulsive due to the lack of social maturity. But many of them develop the ability to postpone instant gratification for even greater rewards or social acceptance. With ADHD-caused impulsive behaviors, the trained teacher has to step in and carry out certain measures to assist the special students in overcoming their impulsiveness. Some of the ideas of coping with impulsive adhd behavior are the following.

    • Encourage the students to think out loud. Instead of allowing the special student to silently go on his/her way, the teacher must ask the student to verbalize thoughts and reasoning. There are two purposes in making the ADHD student think aloud. First, the teacher will gain insight into the thought processes of the student, providing the teacher a greater understanding of the student and more ideas on how to connect with the student. Second, the verbalization will slow down the student and will force him/her to curb impulsive behaviors.
    • Uphold simple and clear classroom rules regarding behavior. The rules should be simple and agreed upon by the whole class. The agreement of the class will ensure that a certain rule is reasonable and acceptable. These rules, however, can be redefined as the school term progresses. Then, desired behaviors exhibited by ADHD students should be rewarded.
    • And finally, role-play social situations. These social situations should demonstrate the solutions or acceptable reactions that the special students can emulate. With the help of friends and with the safety of role play, the ADHD can prepare for social situations and react with less impulsiveness.

    As the teacher’s experience with special students increases, the teacher will gain more ideas or fine tune the ones above to make them more effective in helping the ADHD students to achieve better academically and respond more maturely socially.

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