Educators with a scholar who has ADHD or parents of a child with ADHD face a unique set of challenges. The active young person typically comes to the classroom with so much vitality and limited attention, and struggles to follow directions or to comply voluntarily with adult authority. This child often returns home from school with limited academic knowledge or no retention whatsoever. While the teacher is drained and frustrated that the young person does not learn at the same pace as his or her typical peers, there is no doubt that the parent is emotionally frustrated as well. The parent and the teacher both recognize that the child needs support to be successful in the educational environment.
What is ADHD exactly? How is ADHD diagnosed? How do we respond positively to a child with the disorder?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is known as a chronic, neurodevelopmental condition that impairs one’s functioning and development. ADHD affects children and it is also believed that many adults are among the population diagnosed. About 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults suffer from ADHD. The disorder is heterogeneous and is more common in boys than in girls.
ADHD is diagnosed in one, two or three of the following categories: Inattentive, Hyperactive/Impulsive, or Combined type. Doctors often assess to determine/identify the condition in the extensive evaluation process. Inattentive persons tend to have difficulty in concentration, following direction, staying on task or organizing tasks and do not manage time well. Children or adults with hyperactive/impulsive disorder tend to get easily bored, restless, are unable to stay calm, are always “on the go,” fidget, often interrupt or interfere with others, react easily and find it difficult to be patient. The individual with the combined type displays the above two types equally.
Recognizing exactly what we now know about ADHD, how can we respond to a young person in school and at home with this disorder? In order for a person with ADHD to learn to their most productive ability, approaches like prescribed medicines, counseling, behavior therapy, and teaching mechanisms for coping with the disorder are ways to address the diagnosis. Additionally, the following strategies can also be established in the classroom and at home to support and/or respond to the condition:
- Intentionally create positive rules and classroom routines specifically for students with ADHD.
- Develop accommodations like extended time or preferential seating for ADHD students in your classroom.
- Remind students with ADHD about upcoming events and prepare them for a transition.
- Do not penalize students with ADHD for moving around. Allow them to travel and fidget. Provide opportunities for physical activity and offer errands to do.
- Establish a relationship with ADHD students and increase active class participation.
- Provide sufficient visual reminders to students with ADHD as they respond effectively to pictorial cues.
- Partner with parents and communicate efficiently with them regularly about challenges and celebrations.
- If a youngster is on medications, make sure you monitor for effectiveness.
- Parents should gently encourage children to properly arrange papers for evening homework and prepare for the next school day.
- Keenly observe children put completed homework in the proper folder.
- Talk with the teacher about using a daily or weekly report, if needed.
Overall, students with ADHD can produce satisfactory outcomes in their lifelong learning provided the educators and the parents create effective, quality, and personalized plans to support and promote their condition. Finally, it is imperative to note that children are often active by nature and are not necessarily at risk for ADHD. Thus, if a child is eager or constantly misbehaves or is restless, it does not necessarily suggest they have the Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
For more information on services for children with ADHD, visit the Center for Parent Information and Resources. In order to assist any child with ADHD progress to his or her maximum potential, it is critical to secure assistance as early as possible.