ADHD is recognized as a high incidence exceptionality/impairment/disability. IS a “persistent pattern of inattention/or hyperactivity- impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.” A disorder that is generally first diagnosed during early elementary school years. Symptoms/indicators may change with maturity. Has a hereditary factor Must be diagnosed by a professional who will be looking for at least 6 symptoms or indicators in two settings.
H stands for hyperactivity. Attention Deficit Disorder Demands teacher attention without the hyperactivity component. Will act out in a very visible Are less noticeable and distracting manner Will quietly go about not Will speak out of turn, paying attention or getting interrupt, be in conflict with his or her work done. other students, will not May not be noticed without remain on task or in seat one on one occurrences between student and and will be disorganized. teacher. ADHD ADD
Aggressive behaviors Weak listening Skills Difficulty controlling Struggle with Math facts temper and procedures Incomplete assignments Weak note taking skills Very short attention span Very disorganized Impaired cause and effect Low persistence thinking May struggle with reading Difficulty following Lack some social skills directions such as sharing, and High Distractibility following rules Unable to sit still Excessive talking Impulsive Struggle with cursive Lack organizational skills writing
UPON NOTICING A STRONG PATTERN OF INDICATORS YOU SHOULD: Document the behaviors and patterns you have noticed. Try some accommodation/intervention strategies. Document the results of strategies/interventions. If strategies work continue doing so. If strategies don’t work, contact parents for consultation and discuss assessment options to see if they are willing. Meet with student support team. Look at assessment possibilities. Diagnosis pending, I.E.P
Environmental Supports Reduce visual and auditory distractions wherever possible. Student work space- Desks? Floor? Sitting? Standing? Beanbag Chair? Ball? Front or back of room? Must be uncluttered. Seat near well behaved and attentive peers, close to the front of the room and teacher. Have a specific, safe, quiet spot for student to go to when needed. STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE AND MORE STRUCTURE.ACCOMODATIONS and INTERVENTION NOTE: Each students exceptionality is unique and adaptations that work for one student may not work for others.This is a trial and error suggestion list.
Give student errands or small jobs that allow movement. Make groups for group work carefully. Post classroom rules and expectations clearly and in a highly visible area. Establish a private communication system with the student such as hand signals or cue cards etc. Consequences for inappropriate behavior must be administered immediately Praise appropriate/desired behavior. Provide a self monitoring plan for the student.
Allow extra time for assignments and tests or avoid timed tasks completely . Reduce work load. Break up activities. Use chunking. Model organization skills and provide organized material. (color coded, bins, labels, checklists, day planners, visible schedule) Provide alternative assessment methods. Allow student to keyboard rather than cursive writing. Provide reading support such as stories on tape, digital stories, teacher/peer helper read, etc. Use as many multiple intelligences as possible in lessons. Provide note frames, rather than student writing all of the notes.
IMPORTANT: It is not the school or classroom teachers place to recommend medicating a student with ADHD. IT is important for the school and classroom teacher to make adaptations for children with ADHD regardless of them being medicated or not. Medication will not cure ADHD. The most common medications for ADHD are Ritalin, Adderall or Dexedrine. (all are psycho stimulants) Antidepressants may also be a medication prescribed for ADHD. Medication will have side effects. Schools and classroom teachers should be aware of these side effects.
Desired outcome: increase attention, on-task, completion of tasks, increase in appropriate behaviors, better relationships etc. Several dosage adjustments may be necessary before finding the best fit. Student behavior must be closely monitored during dose adjustments. If a dosage is too small = no change, if a dosage is to high = student lethargy. Side effects and the severity must be monitored. Common side effects: appetite loss, stomachaches, headaches, tics, mood changes, or any other bizarre or excessive behavior that was not present before medication. Teachers may have to dispense medication and should do so discretely It is important not to depend on the medication as a cause for student behaviors. Why give stimulants to an already over stimulated child? These medications stimulate the central nervous system and increase the efficiency of neurotransmitters that control attention, concentration and planning.
Symons, Cam. Dr. The Exceptional Teachers’ Casebook. Reference Document for Children and Adolescents With Exceptionalities. Brandon University Faculty of Education Professional Development Unit. 2008 pgs. 5-9American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.Mulrine, Christopher F., Prater, Mary Anne, Jenkins, Amelia. “ The Active Classroom Supporting Students With Attention Hyperactivity Disorder Through Exercise.” Teaching Exceptional Children Vol. 40 No. 5 May/June 2008. pgs. 16-20Smith, Tom E.C. et al. Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Settings. Second Canadian Edition. Pearson Education Canada Inc. Toronto, Ontario. 2006. pgs. 113-139