For teachers of students with ADHD, it is important to have a checklist to refer to throughout the school year. This will help teachers to meet the student's distinct needs as well as assist the student with organizing his schoolwork and homework. Students with ADHD often have difficulty with the typical school environment, from sitting and focusing, to working in groups and meeting deadlines. Be proactive and the student with ADHD can be on the road to success.
Keep students with ADHD where you can see them. Experiment with various seating arrangements until you find the best fit for your students, and mix it up as often as you can. Rows of seating may work best if you have more than one student with ADHD in your class. A horseshoe set-up works well for some classes, because the teacher can make eye contact and keep all students in sight as she moves around the room. Some teachers prefer groups of four or five. Take care not to appear punitive in your seating arrangements -- a child who is always seated near the teacher may start to feel resentful and act out.
Presentation of Lessons
Turn off the lights and help students focus on an object using a flashlight or laser pointer to illuminate it. Give verbal and written directions, and use illustrations along side of them. This also works well with class material. Themes that incorporate more than one subject will hold the ADHD student's attention longer than a typical lesson. Use excitement and enthusiasm when conveying your lessons to the class. This will entice your students to want to know more as your enthusiasm is contagious.
Focus and Attention
Gain the attention of your ADHD students through storytelling. For students who are auditory learners, listening to an interesting story aloud and stimulating their imaginations will be a welcome break from the usual routine.
Use visual signals such as raising your hand or flashing the lights to gain students' attention. Encourage routine clapping or a short song before becoming quiet for further instruction. Do not speak until all students are quiet. Make eye contact with students who continue to chat and use another signal if necessary.
Students with ADHD might present with hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Many lose focus and daydream instead of paying attention to the task at hand. It helps to know your students and remember they are not misbehaving on purpose.
Behavior plans, sticker charts, small rewards and color coded folders and schedules work wonders for children with ADHD. Try to limit singling out a child with ADHD for his behavior -- he might see this as punishment and the results could be counter-productive. A hand on his shoulder or a whisper in his ear might be enough to get him back on track. Avoid sending subtle messages to the other children in your class. If you express non-verbal annoyance, the other children may pick up on it and react to the student with ADHD. This can result in social and self-esteem issues for the child with ADHD.
- checklist of the public health service image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com