5 strategies for teaching students with ADHD effectively

5 Strategies for Teaching Students with ADHD

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What is ADHD?

Teaching students with ADHD presents unique challenges. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a prevalent mental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children. Often, these children display disruptive behaviour in classrooms, and if unchecked, these tendencies can persist into adulthood. A study indicates that roughly 7.2% of children aged 5 to 19 globally, or approximately 129 million children, have ADHD.

Types and Symptoms of ADHD:

Symptoms of ADHD generally become noticeable before age 6. There are three primary categories of ADHD:

Primarily inattentive ADHD

  • Displays a lack of focus and is easily distracted
  • Often makes careless mistakes or loses belongings
  • Struggles to follow instructions and sees tasks through to completion
  • Has a short attention span for most tasks

Primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD

  • Restless with consistent fidgeting; struggles to remain seated
  • Exhibits impulsive, impatient behaviours and may interrupt others. Often seen speaking excessively
  • Can display aggressive behaviours or anger outbursts

Primarily combined ADHD

  • Demonstrates a combination of symptoms from both of the above types

Symptoms in adolescence or adults:

CTA
  • Face challenges in focusing on tasks, including schoolwork
  • Tend to avoid tasks that require sustained mental effort and often leave tasks unfinished
  • Struggle with time management and organizational skills
  • May have difficulties juggling professional, social, and personal responsibilities

It’s worth noting that boys are diagnosed with ADHD more often than girls. Typically, girls exhibit inattentiveness, whereas boys are more prone to disruptive behaviours and impulsiveness.

Impact of ADHD on children:

ADHD can impair comprehension and reasoning. Students with this disorder may grapple with reading, writing, logical thinking, and emotional expression. The adverse effects of ADHD can be long-lasting, potentially resulting in underachievement academically and in the workplace.

Also Read: 6 Best Practices for Supporting Students with Special Needs

Strategies for Teaching Students with ADHD

Build relationships with parents and educate students:

Before teaching a child with ADHD, it’s vital to understand them. Building robust relationships with parents can offer insights into the child’s strengths, weaknesses, achievements, and outside-school interests.

Parents are the primary source of information about their child. Engaging them can help teachers identify strategies that are effective. Regular communication and progress updates are essential. Additionally, educators should inform fellow students about ADHD, ensuring a supportive environment and minimizing the risk of bullying.

Foster effective communication:

Communication is foundational for effective teaching. For students with ADHD, teachers should approach with empathy and awareness. Being sensitive in communication is crucial as these students often have emotional regulation challenges and may struggle with self-esteem.

Focus on offering frequent positive feedback. Phrases like “You are working hard” or “You’re improving at this” can motivate students. Avoid criticism, which can demotivate and lower their self-confidence. Engage actively with them, posing questions about their choices and feelings, helping them reflect on their behaviour.

Provide clarity in assignments and tasks:

Students with ADHD might find complex assignments challenging to grasp. Thus, keep tasks clear and concise. Ensure a classroom environment where students feel comfortable seeking clarifications. Break tasks into manageable segments to keep students with ADHD motivated and confident. Integrate short breaks to help them refocus, as extended periods of concentration can be exhausting for them

Organization is vital, so consider employing tools to help students track their work, like separate folders for different activities. Offer choices in assignments to make them feel valued – for example, letting them pick between an oral report, written essay, online quiz, or hands-on project. However, limit options to prevent overwhelming them and avoid indecisiveness.

Also Read: 10 Classroom management skills, strategies every teacher should know

Ensure effective content delivery:

A positive attitude is essential when teaching students with ADHD. Educators should foster hope and improvement by building strong partnerships with their students. Phrases like “Let’s tackle these challenges together” assure students that you’re invested in their academic journey. For efficient learning, lessons must be delivered effectively. Begin by outlining the learning objectives, necessary materials, and expectations. Maintain eye contact with ADHD students and articulate your instructions clearly.

List all activities on the board and use visual aids like props and charts to keep ADHD students engaged. Infuse the lesson with varied activities; students with ADHD often thrive with competitive games or fast-paced tasks. However, refrain from putting them on the spot, as public answering might be daunting for them. Summarize key points at the end of the session to reinforce learning. Moreover, be explicit about homework expectations, and if necessary, repeat instructions for clarity.

Strategise effective classroom management system:

ADHD students often grapple with tasks like sitting still, paying attention, and concentrating – not due to unwillingness but neurological challenges. Consequently, they may experience low grades, punishments, peer teasing, and diminished self-esteem. Effective classroom management can ameliorate these challenges.

Behavioural management is a cornerstone of classroom discipline. Establish rules, involving students in the decision-making process to foster ownership and engagement. Instead of focusing on prohibitions, state what you expect them to do. Given that ADHD students benefit from regular reminders, visibly display the classroom rules. When inappropriate behaviour occurs, refer to the rule in question. Also, consider seating arrangements; position ADHD students away from potential distractions like windows, doors, and noisy peers.

Despite many ADHD students attending regular classes, they often require additional support. Teachers play a pivotal role in a child’s development, helping them realize their potential. Committed educators constantly reinforce students’ worth and capabilities. The strategies mentioned above will enable teachers to create a nurturing classroom environment for ADHD students, promoting learning, discipline, and fostering self-esteem.

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