Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disorder that affects three to five percent of school-aged children (Akram). Since children with this disorder are more likely than children without the disorder to fail in school, it is very important that teachers take extra time to understand the disorder so they know how to alter their teaching habits for those with ADHD(Cooper). However, research has shown that many certified teachers and student teachers do not understand the key elements of the disorder. Therefore, the following will discuss Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder itself and extra measures teachers should take to help children with the disorder.

According to the American Psychiatric Association in 1994, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder involves “behavioral symptoms of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity that significantly interfere with affected individuals’ family and peer relationships as well as their educational and occupational functioning(Cooper 3).” Those with the disorder are often seen as disorganized, unmotivated, and badly behaved.

Medication and ADHD

The role of medication in the treatment of ADHD is an important aspect to discuss. Ritalin is often used to treat the disorder, which improves concentration. However,
external image ritalin80.jpg
medication alone is hardly ever the answer to ADHD. After the child’s concentration is improved from Ritalin, parents and teachers are then supposed to learn strategies to effectively learn in school, and control themselves better. It is always important to add these interventions to the medication given.

Possible Side-Effects of Ritalin
  • Stomach issues
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

ADHD in the Classroom

Teachers for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have to go about teaching in a slightly different manner. The practices they should use are good ways to teach all children, but they are especially beneficial to those children with ADHD.

  • What Teachers Can Do

    • Teachers should always be positive to that particular student, and make sure the child does not feel like a failure if they are not caught up with the other students’ basic skills.
    • A very important part about teaching a student with ADHD is to make sure the teacher supports the child so they do no develop low self-esteem, and in turn feel unmotivated to try in the classroom. Therefore, teachers need to be especially encouraging to these students to prevent that from happening.
    • It is the teacher's job to create a positive atmosphere where other students will also want to be positive.

external image teacher%20chalkboard%20for%20teacher%20resources%20page.jpg

  • Acknowledge Good Behavior

    • Next, it is important that teachers spend more time giving attention for good behavior on behalf of a student with ADHD, rather than reprimanding bad behavior constantly. Often times, teachers only pay attention to bad social behavior and good academic behavior, but they should also make a point to give attention to good social behavior. Plus, giving rewards to all children is often a way to keep them from behaving badly, and this goes for ADHD students as well. Small awards given immediately after good behavior helps the student understand that their behavior should be continued.

  • Help With Communication

    • Communication can also be an issue with students with ADHD. These children often have troubles with auditory processing. Therefore, it is much easier to have a visual account of rules for these children to see, and understand better. It is also a good idea to have students with the disorder repeat the instructions back to the teacher in their own words, so it is clear that they understand what is expected of them. It is also important that teachers repeat tasks without showing annoyance to the student; this would create unnecessary embarrassment to the student, and possibly cause low self-esteem.

  • Think Carefully About Group Assignments

    • Also, it is important to make sure the child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not overstimulated. This is often caused by working in a big group. Therefore, it will be easier for the student to stay on track if they are working in pairs. However, it is obvious that all children need to learn how to work in a group, so thinking about the placement of the child is important if they are going to be in a larger group. For example, if the teacher puts them in a group that has good collaboration, the student with the disorder will find it much easier to participate.

  • Free the Student from Distraction

    • Another way to minimize distraction for a student with ADHD in the classroom is to have a designated quiet place for them to go to if need be. Otherwise, placing the student in an area that is free from distraction is very beneficial. This includes being away from doors or windows. Also, it could be a good idea to have the student in a place where the teacher can easily pay attention to them, and can swiftly act if the student is sidetracked without causing embarrassment to the student or disruption to the rest of the class.

  • Keep Routine in the Classroom

    • Lastly, routine in the classroom is another way to keep students with ADHD on task. The student should have the schedule handy to look at when need be. Also, daily tasks should be broken down so that things are more simple for the student to follow. However, this does not mean that every part of every day should be routine and scheduled. The classroom should be stimulating enough to keep the child from becoming bored and distracted, but not overstimulating as to keep the child from thinking about other things going on in the classroom(Cooper).

Insufficient Knowledge of ADHD

It is clear that many education majors do not have sufficient knowledge about ADHD. In one study, researchers found that teachers often believe myths about the disorder. Among many other wrong ideas, teachers tend to think that the disorder can be caused or changed through an alteration in diet, or that ADHD is just exclusive to childhood. Some teachers also thought the disorder to just be disorderly behavior, and most of them did not fully understand the side effects of medication given to treat ADHD. Through this research, it was found that teachers mostly got their knowledge about ADHD from their friends, the media, and the internet. Only fourteen percent of participants in the research stated that they gotten in-service training about the disorder(Akram). In my own research of education majors, I also found that most students did not feel that they have enough knowledge about ADHD, but one hundred percent of the takers felt that it is important for them to know before becoming a teacher(SurveyMonkey). As I have stated previously, this can be very harmful to the education of children with ADHD, and should be fixed(Akram).

In conclusion, it is important for education majors to understand how to deal with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Unfortunately, it has been shown through research that many qualified teachers and student teachers do not understand many significant aspects of the disorder that could help them improve their students’ quality of education. Therefore, this paper provides education majors with information that will hopefully benefit those who choose to take advantage of it.

external image Children-Classroom.jpg

Other helpful links:

ADD/ADHD and School

ADHD Schools

Attention Deficit Disorder