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Classroom techniques for ADHD students

Students in a classroom who have ADHD are a challenge to any teacher. There are a number of strategies that have proved helpful to working with an ADHD child and managing the classroom.

It will always be helpful to bear in mind the characteristics of the condition while seeing how these strategies help to overcome them. ADHD, an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is characterized by the following three difficulties:

  • Short attention span
  • Difficulties controlling impulses
  • Hyperactivity

Here are some classroom techniques that teachers successfully use for ADHD students.

  • Place ADHD students at the front of the class, facing the teacher. This will help you to be aware when the student's attention wanders and also help reduce the student being distracted by the rest of the class.

  • Have these students surrounded by exemplary students. Pair them with a "buddy" who will be a good role model.

  • Seat them away from distractions such as doors, windows, traffic areas, etc.

  • Use ADHD students for errands or physical tasks that need to be done such as handing out papers. They need physical activity and this will provide them with an outlet. Make sure they can let off some steam at recess.

  • ADHD students need predictable structure. Maintain a steady schedule and lesson sequence, and as far as possible avoid or limit disruptions or relocations.

  • When giving instructions, limit them to one or two steps. ADHD students will have difficulty keeping track of more. Limit classroom rules to about 5 and write them up in clear view.

  • Walk around the class when giving the lesson, and pause near ADHD students to help them focus.

  • Catch them doing something right as often as possible and call attention to misdeeds indirectly, if possible. For instance, drawing the class's attention to the fact that most students remembered their homework will indirectly send the message that you've noticed that some didn't.

There are many more tactics that can be used to work with ADHD students. Some relate to classroom arrangement, some to methods of lesson delivery and others to behaviour management. Involvement of the home is important. Some parents may resent the label of ADHD and be in denial about it, but it's essential to enlist parents' support in helping ADHD students.

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