Monday, April 28, 2008

Coping With ADHD

  1. When necessary, ask the teacher or boss to repeat instructions rather than guess.
  2. Break large assignments or job tasks into small, simple tasks. Set a deadline for each task and reward yourself as you complete each one.
  3. Each day, make a list of what you need to do. Plan the best order for doing each task. Then make a schedule for doing them. Use a calendar or daily planner to keep yourself on track.
  4. Work in a quiet area. Do one thing at a time. Give yourself short breaks.
  5. Write things you need to remember in a notebook with dividers. Write different kinds of information like assignments, appointments, and phone numbers in different sections.
  6. Keep the book with you all of the time.
  7. Post notes to yourself to help remind yourself of things you need to do. Tape notes on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, in your school locker, or dashboard of your car -- wherever you're likely to need the reminder.
  8. Store similar things together. For example, keep all your Nintendo disks in one place, and tape cassettes in another. Keep canceled checks in one place, and bills in another.
  9. Create a routine. Get yourself ready for school or work at the same time, in the same way, every day.
  10. Exercise, eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
Don't Judge, Adjust

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dealing with Disruptive Classroom Behavior

To head off behavior that takes time from other students, work out a couple of warning signals with the student who has ADD/ADHD. This can be a hand signal, an unobtrusive shoulder squeeze, or a sticky note on the student’s desk. If you have to discuss the student’s behavior, do so in private. And try to ignore mildly inappropriate behavior if it’s unintentional and isn’t distracting other students or disrupting the lesson.

Classroom accommodations for students with ADHD
As a teacher, you can make changes in the classroom to help minimize the distractions and disruptions of ADHD.


  • Seat the student with ADD/ADHD away from windows and away from the door.
  • Put the student with ADD/ADHD right in front of your desk unless that would be a distraction for the student.
  • Seats in rows, with focus on the teacher, usually work better than having students seated around tables or facing one another in other arrangements.
Information delivery

  • Give instructions one at a time and repeat as necessary.
  • If possible, work on the most difficult material early in the day.
  • Use visuals: charts, pictures, color coding.
  • Create outlines for note-taking that organize the information as you deliver it.
Student work
  • Create a quiet area free of distractions for test-taking and quiet study.
  • Create worksheets and tests with fewer items; give frequent short quizzes rather than long tests.
  • Reduce the number of timed tests.
  • Test the student with ADD/ADHD in the way he or she does best, such as orally or filling in blanks.
  • Show the student how to use a pointer or bookmark to track written words on a page.
  • Divide long-term projects into segments and assign a completion goal for each segment.
  • Let the student do as much work as possible on computer.
  • Accept late work and give partial credit for partial work.
Don't Judge, Adjust


At any given time, a teacher can expect to have at least one student with ADHD. The impulsive and hyperactive behavior of such students can be distracting to everyone in the classroom. But there are strategies you can use to help students with ADHD channel their energy and focus their attention so that they can achieve their full potential—and you can conduct lessons with fewer interruptions.
Teaching students with ADD/ADHD
If you’re a teacher, you know these kids:
  • The one who stares out the window, substituting the arc of a bird in flight for her math lesson.
  • The one who wouldn’t be able to keep his rear end in the chair even if you used Krazy Glue.
  • The one who answers the question, “Who can tell me what the 6th Amendment guarantees?” with “Mrs. M, do you dye your hair?”
Students who exhibit ADD/ADHD’s hallmark symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can be frustrating. You know the brainpower is there, but they just can’t seem to focus on the material you’re working hard to deliver. Plus, their behaviors take time away from instruction and disrupt the whole class.
Challenges of ADHD in the classroom
Think of what the school setting requires children to do:
  • Sit still.
  • Listen quietly.
  • Pay attention.
  • Follow instructions.
  • Concentrate.
These are the very things kids with ADD/ADHD have a hard time doing — not because they aren’t willing, but because their brains won’t let them. That doesn’t make teaching them any easier, of course.
Students with ADD/ADHD present the following challenges for teachers:
  • They demand attention by talking out of turn or moving around the room.
  • They have trouble following instructions, especially when they’re presented in a list.
  • They often forget to write down homework assignments, do them, or bring completed work to school.
  • They often lack fine motor control, which makes note-taking difficult and handwriting a trial to read.
  • They often have trouble with operations that require ordered steps, such as long division or solving equations.
  • They usually have problems with long-term projects where there is no direct supervision.
  • They don’t pull their weight during group work and may even keep a group from accomplishing its task.
Students with ADD/ADHD pay the price for their problems in low grades, scolding and punishment, teasing from peers, and low self-esteem. Meanwhile, you, the teacher, wind up taking complaints from parents who feel their kids are being cheated of your instruction and feeling guilty because you can’t reach the child with ADD/ADHD.
What teachers can do to help
So how do you teach a kid who won’t settle down and listen? The answer: with a lot of patience, creativity, and consistency. As a teacher, your role is to evaluate each child’s individual needs and strengths. Then you can develop strategies that will help students with ADD/ADHD focus, stay on task, and learn to their full capabilities. Successful programs for children with ADHD integrate the following three components:
  • Accommodations: what you can do to make learning easier for students with ADD/ADHD.
  • Instruction: the methods you use in teaching.
  • Intervention: How you head off behaviors that disrupt concentration or distract other students. Your most effective tool, however, in helping a student with ADD/ADHD is a positive attitude. Make the student your partner by saying, “Let’s figure out ways together to help you get your work done.” Assure the student that you’ll be looking for good behavior and quality work, and when you see it, reinforce it with immediate and sincere praise.
Finally, look for ways to motivate a student with ADD/ADHD by offering rewards on a point or token system.
Don't Judge, Adjust