Every teacher has had to adapt their teaching to accommodate students that have ADHD. While ideally we would like to give these students the individual attention that they need, in a classroom setting this is simply unrealistic. It is important to know what ADHD is and how we can alter our classrooms to help those students who struggle with this disorder.
Attention deficit disorder, or ADHD affects approximately 10% of children. Though we don’t yet know why, this disorder is 3x more likely to affect boys than girls. Children with ADHD are hyperactive, struggle focusing, and have difficulty sitting still, paying attention and internalizing what is expected of them. All of these symptoms, can understandably make learning difficult for children who struggle with ADHD. As their teacher, it is imperative that you do all you can to make your classroom an effective learning environment for these children.
Accommodating Students With ADHD In Your Classroom
By making a few changes within your classroom, you can alter the entire dynamic to positively affect those children with ADHD.
1. Alter the Seating Chart
Those children that struggle with ADHD can be distracted easily, especially if they have little to no interest in the subject being taught. Alter your seating chart to keep those with ADHD away from the doors and windows. This will help prevent them from staring out the window and losing focus as well as getting distracted by others leaving and entering the classroom. If convenient, rather than grouping the desks together, try lining them in rows, this will aid in limiting students with ADHD from getting distracted.
2. Customize Their Workload
Because children with ADHD struggle with paying attention, it would be beneficial to begin each day with the hardest coursework. At the start of the day, they won’t be as easily distracted so they’ll be able to give more focus to the harder material. This will also help in keeping their attention throughout the rest of the school-day, as the easier coursework will seem simple after the more difficult tasks are completed. Try implementing visual aids with pictures and bright colors that will help focus their attention while you are speaking.
3. Split Up Their Work
Students with ADHD often struggle or lose interest when they are expected to complete a big task. Rather than giving them a long test that will lose their attention, instead try giving them shorter and more frequent quizzes. If there is a large project that needs to be completed, rather than expecting a fully completed project on a certain date, instead break up the project into steps so they won’t become overwhelmed. Splitting up their work will help them accomplish their tasks successfully which will help boost their self-esteem.
4. The Difference between ADHD in Boys versus Girls
Hopefully the parents of students with ADHD will let you know of their individual struggles, but if this is not the case it is important to understand that ADHD manifests itself in different ways depending on gender. While boys are often disruptive, loud, and hyperactive, girls are usually anxious and quiet.
Do Your Best
Find those within your classroom that are struggling with ADHD and do your best to recognize their potential as well as their limitations. Once you know what they are capable of, you can alter your classroom and teaching method to help overcome their struggles. When you incorporate these guidelines into your classroom you will help your ADHD students find success early on. In more severe cases, you may need to recommend a specialty school that focuses on helping ADHD children.
Every child deserves to enjoy learning, by implementing these tips into you classroom you can help make that a possibility.