Teaching Students with ADD/ADHD: Tips and Techniques That Work!
For both parents and teachers trying to educate a student with ADD or ADHD can be a challenging task. I have worked as a special educator in a private school for over 10 years. I have worked with students with severe ADHD and mild ADHD. To whatever degree the ADHD is one factor remains the same and that is the desire to be successful. So as parents and teachers we must support that desire by providing appropriate accommodations and modifications. We must also be creative and provide outlets that allow ADHD students to truly display what they know and what they have learned.
So, the obvious question is “How do we do this?” Well, the following tips are just ideas; every student is different and will respond entirely different to possible interventions. However, it is important to keep in mind that something will work; we just need to find the right intervention for the right child. Here are some things that I have used and many of these items can be incorporated into a student’s Individual Educational Plan if the educational team feels it would be appropriate.
First, try breaking up large assignments and concepts into small more manageable pieces. The attention span of a student with ADHD is usually limited. Get to know your child and student, then place appropriate challenges and demands. Allow time for reflection and self time-outs as needed.
Second, if you are expecting an ADHD student to do a list of things such as take out the garbage, do the dishes, clean his or her room, walk the dog, etc…… then it is important to write it down. Remember when an ADHD student is not completing tasks it is usually because they are over stimulated by the information and not being defiant. Then teach the child to prepare their own lists.
Next, try providing sensory tools such as a weighted blanket, sound reducing earphones, stress balls, and fidget toys. This can help students remain focused on a task at hand.
Also try limiting the external distractions. Keep learning environments clean and organized.
Finally, teach these strategies to the student so they can use them independently. We need to teach students with ADHD how to manage and control their inattentiveness and hyper activity to be successful in life.
Always consult special educators and doctors to see if these methods are appropriate and if other methods need to be considered.
Students with ADHD and ADD can be extremely successful in school and home. With patience and understanding ADHD and ADD students will develop an interest in learning and a love for success!