ADHD Symptoms and School
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 9.5 percent of school-aged boys and 5.9 percent of school-aged girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ADHD can result in behavioral and cognitive problems. For example, children with predominantly inattentive ADHD or combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD can have problems sustaining attention, make careless mistakes, and have trouble finishing work. Children with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD or combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD can have problems staying still and waiting their turn. Because the symptoms of ADHD can affect a child's performance in school, using assistive technology for ADHD can help immensely.
Assistive Technology for ADHD
Many of the assistive technologies for ADHD target specific symptoms of ADHD. For example, the Minnesota Adult Basic Education Disabilities notes that patients who have problems with time management can use the invisible clock, a device that is worn on the belt. The invisible clock can be set for a specific time, such as 10 minutes to work on an assignment. When those 10 minutes are up, the invisible clock vibrates or beeps.
Marshall Raskind, PhD, and Kristin Stanberry, authors of the ADDitudeMag.com article “The Best Software and Gadgets for ADHD Students,” list several types of technological tools that can help ADHD patients in school. For example, in mathematics, children can use electronic math worksheet software or a talking calculator, which provide immediate feedback. Assistive technology for ADHD can also help with reading and writing, which include portable word processors, audio books and speech recognition programs.
Utilizing Assistive Technology in the Classroom
Many of the assistive technology options for ADHD can be used in the classroom. For example, the teacher can set the invisible clock for each class period, then give the child breaks, which can help with both the behavioral and attention symptoms. If a student is having problems with a certain subject, such as reading, the teacher can give the student as assistive technology to help them. For example, the child may work with a voice recognition program, which shows the child his words on the screen.
Some of the ADHD assistive technologies can be used as a reward for students. The US Department of Education has a game designed for ADHD children called the “FFFBI Academy” or “Fin, Fur, and Feather Bureau of Investigation.” The seven different mini games that are available on the FFFBI Academy's website target certain ADHD symptoms through interactive learning. For example, the fourth “mission”–“Monitor Lizard”–works on short-term memory, attention to certain cues and ignoring distractions. As part of the day's lesson, the student can play 10 to 15 minutes of the game if he completes all of his tasks for that class, such as finishing an assignment.
Minnesota Adult Basic Education Disabilities: Assistive Technology for ADD/ADHD
ADDitudeMag.org: The Best Software and Gadgets for ADHD Students
CDC: ADHD Data and Statistics
US Department of Education: FFFBI Academy