ADHD in the Classroom: Helpful Hints for Teachers
1. Make clear rules and post them, with logical consequences and with rewards.
2. Look for patterns of behavior in the child. Are there better times than others? Does the child do better in structured activities than at recess? Does the child do most poorly between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. when medication might be wearing off?
3. Promote time on task, never time off task. Give a minute timer to keep on his desk. Ask the child how long he thinks it would take to perform a certain task. Let him set his own time and race against the timer.
4. Stress accuracy instead of quantity of work. This is really what you want as a teacher anyway. The child is easily overwhelmed and discouraged. Reduce the quantity of work on a page. Instead of giving 30 problems on a page, give only five or six. Then the child won't be overwhelmed, and successes will build up his self-esteem.
INTERVENTIONS TO CONSIDER
6. Computers are great for 1-to-1 work and immediate feedback.
7. Use peer tutoring whenever possible. Older children to help him, and perhaps allowing him to tutor a younger child.
8. Organize the child's environment. Use dividers and folders in his desk so he can easily find things. Teach him how to organize himself better.
9. Move his desk to where there are fewer distractions. Close to the teacher to monitor and encourage, or near a well-focused child.
10. Privacy boards can work well, but should never embarrass the child.
11 .The more exciting a subject is to a child, the better he will learn.
12. Establish routines and notify the child well ahead of time if there are to be changes in the daily routine. This will help the child to focus better.
13. Help the child to organize his written work or numbers. Allow the child to move a pencil or his finger across the page while reading. If he's writing, allow him to use one or two fingers for spacing between words. During math, graph paper may be very helpful to organize his numbers and columns.
14. Provide a safe environment for the child. Make sure the child knows you are his friend and you are there to help him. Treat him with respect. Never belittle him in front of his peers. Both he and the other children know that he stands out, and if the teacher belittles the child, then the rest of the children will see that as permission from the teacher to belittle the child as well.
15. Listen to the child. They want to be heard too.
16. Be alert to how much movement they may need. Allow for some extra trips to the restroom, or to run some errands. You may want to allow him to run around in a designated spot in the play yard.
17. Give him a break once in a while. Know the difference between big things and little things, and don't confront him on each little thing. It is hard for these children to control themselves all of the time.
18. Help the child find his areas of strength so that he can build his self-esteem.
19. Report any significant changes in behavior or school performance to parents, school administrators, or school psychologist.
20. Be the child's advocate.
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