Through the fidgeting, restlessness, and speaking out of turn, it can be difficult to teach a child with ADHD. Obviously, the ideal situation would be specific one-on-one time with him in order to keep him focused and create a specific curriculum to work around his difficulties.
For most teachers, however, that just isn’t an option.
What is ADHD?
The first step toward teaching a child with ADHD is understanding exactly what’s involved with the disorder. ADHD is defined as “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of:
- Hyperactivity, and
All of this interferes with functioning or development. If they’re unable to keep their mind focused on the task at hand, they can’t learn the lessons.
So how can we teach someone that, despite wanting to learn, can’t keep their attention on something for long?
Ways to Accommodate ADHD Students Without Disrupting Class
There are some easy preventative measures we can take that will help solve issues before they’re even a problem.
1. Intentional Seating
Students with ADHD are easily distracted, especially when the subject material is not a favored one.
Seat the student away from windows or doors where they may catch people walking by or other such distractions. If possible, line up the desks in rows facing the front of the class, instead of in circles facing one another. This will help keep his attention forward.
2. Manage the Workload Carefully
The best time to get the most difficult material out of the way is early in the morning, first thing. Their attention hasn’t been spent elsewhere and they’re not eager for distraction. After that, the easier material will seem like a breeze and help keep them focused.
Use a lot of visuals with colors and pictures to hold attention instead of just lectures. It gives them something to look at while you speak.
3. Divide Their Work
This means frequent quizzes that are shorter instead of longer tests they could lose interest/attention in halfway through. If you have any large projects, break it up into steps and have him do each step individually instead of the full project all at once. Otherwise you run the risk of him getting overwhelmed and not doing anything at all.
4. Recognize the Difference of ADHD in Boys and Girls
This is just as important for teaching the boys as it is the girls. The symptoms are different between the sexes, as boys are loud and disruptive, where girls are quiet and anxiety driven. By recognizing all of the students in your class with ADHD, you can better organize the class to minimize disruptions and ensure everyone is getting the information they need.
Do the Best We Can
As teachers, it’s our responsibility to recognize both the potential and limitations of our students in order to customize their learning experience to best fit them. By following these guidelines, we can at least set them up for success early instead of forcing them to fight the system. If this doesn’t work, there are schools specifically designed to help students with ADHD.
No matter what, there are always options, and we can ensure no one is left behind.