ADHD in the Classroom
ADHD can be a worthy foe in the classroom, but we have to remember that the child is not the issue, the ADHD is. Students who have ADHD are struggling more than the teachers can understand and more than the parents who deal with them can understand. No one wants to have their body or mental status out of their own control. Too many times teachers and parents get frustrated with the child and see them as the problem rather than the ADHD. That's unfortunate because students with ADHD have the same potential as any other student. They simply have more obstacles to work against. That's why teachers need to develop ADHD management plans that work well for the individual. Use some or all of the tips below to guide you as you develop individual plans for each student.
Teachers Taking Responsibility
As the adult and the role model in the classroom, it is the teacher's responsibility to be a positive role model and treat their students well. If the teacher can't or won't do it, then how will students emulate them as role models? Use the tips below to guide you in this process.
- Speak with students and parents and validate their concerns. Voice your own in such a way as to remain professional and concerned. Do not degrade the student or their behavior. If possible, point out strong points you have noticed and initiate a conversation about developing a plan to focus on those.
- As part of your plan, have items in the classroom that are there just for the students with ADHD to use to keep their focus. Find what they need to "fidget" with in order to be able to remain in their seat and still be as active as their disorder demands of them.
- Create written goals and discuss the progress of them with the student.
- Give the student responsibilities so that they have a place to channel that excess energy.
- Develop cues with the student so that they are able to remove themselves from situations that are becoming too stressful for them. This will prevent them from being embarrassed when they feel this way and will also help them to take responsibility for their own behavior.
- Don't try to change everything all at once. Just because you want the child to sit quietly and do their work without interruption, doesn't mean it's going to happen today. It can happen eventually, but you need to remember to go one step at a time.
- Set limits and consequences that are appropriate for the child. Don't overdue it or you will be setting them up to fail.
- Find out what the student is interested in and develop a program of positive reinforcement that works within these areas.
ADHD management skills can be developed and used with complete success if the teacher is patient and understands the issues the student faces. Teachers should keep in mind that while they may have aimed their lives towards being in the position they are in, the student did not aim to have ADHD.