STUDY CARDS FOR ADHD STUDENTS
If you have a hyperactive child in your class there are a number of ways in which you can assess your approach to helping them study. ADHD was not so called in the 1960’s and 70’s when I taught in a classroom situation. You either had children who were underactive or overactive and in the middle all your normal actives. You were told to try and design a program for them, or if you could not there was a remedial teacher who coped with both ends of the activity graph. It has become a word almost as popular as schitzophrenic today and treated in almost the same way with drugs. The child therefore is typecast before they are given a chance to say who they are and why.
So my first consideration would be to make the study cards not glaringly different from everyone else’s and make the child feel singled out or too different. What I would have to take into consideration would be that the study cards would need to contain maybe more activity and practical exercises than theory, that maybe their racing brains would not comprehend. The study cards would depend on the subjects that were being studied and as I am a historian and humanities teacher I will endeavor to design some cards around these types of subjects.
First of all everyone has to study English so one of the important tenants is to read and comprehend. If you are overactive it may be difficult to keep still so the reading program would be designed this way. The card would have this activity for reading. Go and get the reading books for the class from the library and bring them back in a number of trips and help the teacher distribute them, the whole idea being to start an interest in books. On the trip to the library a book could be chosen and as they are the library monitor they have to sit and read regularly to hold on to this active job.
Secondly writing, like I am doing here, is an important component of English and the card for this branch of the subject would include writing but not long stories. Encourage the writing even if at first it is only a few paragraphs, it will grow in time. Encourage the student to feel confident enough to read his work to the class, this will help build an interest and confidence. Make the writing fun even if it means, as I did, taking your class to the local Botanical gardens to stimulate their imaginations. The ADHD child will love being out in the open and may even run a little more than the others which will be okay as long as some writing is done when he or she has burnt up some energy. That is a non negotiable rule of this trip. I say this because I feel that a firm, friendly approach will bring results instead of treating the child as abnormal.
Drama would definitely be on the cards (excuse the pun) but it would be an ideal part of the English study card for an active child. Give them the lead role, even if its taxing, they will really feel they are putting all that energy to good use.
History study cards would be designed around actual events instead of theory. My best friend used to teach a series of lessons on the gold rush and bush rangers in Victoria, Australia and he would do much of his teaching practically. The children actually built a stockade and visited gold rush areas over the space of a term. I myself would design this type of curriculum for the normal students anyway, but it would be good for active children to channel their energies into productive outcomes. Geography lessons can be made very practical with lots of excursions out into the topography of the land and many practical experiments. In reality the active student has to conform to the formal curriculum unless the parents decide a technical work school suits their needs better, but these suggestions that I have made would help the normal teacher who has to integrate the ADHD child into the ordinary high school classroom.