Think you have a student with ADHD in your class?
There’s a couple of children in your classroom who you find challenging to manage.
One is really quiet – she often looks like she’s day-dreaming. You’ve caught her out a couple of times because she missed hearing the homework tasks. Because of this, she’s actually started to fall behind.
The other is completely the opposite – from the minute he arrives, he’s constantly on the move and talking to others. It’s exhausting just watching him.
You’ve noticed them both at lunchtime, not paying attention when with their friends and missing social cues at times, either because they are too busy or daydreaming.
If your student does have ADHD this means they have to work much harder to control and filter attention, behaviours, emotions that come naturally to others of the same age. This is the nature of the "disordered" part. It commonly results in significant fatigue and an even more profound loss of control by the end of the school day.
Having ADHD has many benefits, and you want the best for them. However, not knowing how to manage certain behaviours exhibited by children can be frustrating - especially when you're managing 30 other children as well.
What should you do if you think you have a student with ADHD?
The first thing to do is to share your thoughts or concerns with the SENCO at your school and the student’s parents. It’s important you say what your concerns are, but at this stage not to propose a specific diagnosis (as it may confuse their parents should this not be the case when their child is later assessed).
If their parents ask what they need to do next, please encourage them to speak to their GP. Their GP will arrange a referral to the appropriate specialist – whether private, public or using insurance etc.
Successful management of ADHD is a team effort between home and school. Therefore, you’ll need to maintain a close “working” relationship with their parents.
Behavioural techniques and classroom management strategies for managing children with ADHD
a) Consistency is the key
Children with ADHD need to have a sense of external structure, as they tend to lack a sense of internal structure, so do not deal with change very well. Even if it's a positive change.
b) Help them focus by:
c) With ADHD there are two kinds of time… lots and none.
Help them manage their time optimally and meet your expectations for task completion by:
d) Many are VISUAL learners
Try making things more visual or tactile and they may grasp them better. Instead of memorizing words, ask them to “make a movie in their head and play it back”.
e) Encourage creativity
These children are often extremely creative. Try to encourage artistic (or musical) abilities. But to avoid chaos, keep any creative sessions structured.
f) Try to work within their attention span
Frequently changing the type of work enables them to continue to work productively.
g) It's not a reflection on you…
Don’t take their behaviour personally and do not vent your frustration on them.
Maintain a close relationship with the parents/guardian
Successful management of ADHD is a team effort.
If you have any ADHD children in your classroom, you're automatically part of the treatment process. Therefore you have to maintain a close “working” relationship with the other members of the team (namely the parents).
This can be achieved simply by: