Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical disorder involving brain chemistry. It affects the front part of the brain which controls our ability to think rationally, learn from experience and control impulsive behaviour. Children with ADHD have fewer chemical transmitters in this area than normal, resulting in spontaneity, risk-taking and lack of concentration. Diana Hudson writes for Teachwire.
ADHD affects around 2 to 5% of school-aged children and young people in the UK. The condition has no impact on a child’s overall intelligence, but it can impair their progress unless carefully controlled.
How can I spot a student with ADHD?
There are three three behavioural indicators to look out for – hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention, though some children will not exhibit all three.
Hyperactivity (more common among boys)
- Fidgets and jiggles when sitting, appears restless and distracted
- Frequently leaves seat in class
- Tendency towards being silly and showing off
- Fondness for running or climbing at inappropriate times
- Excessive talking
- Chaotic manner; will often arrive late without correct equipment
What can I do to help in class?
Children with ADHD can be both challenging and extremely rewarding to teach. You may find the following helpful when supporting a child with ADHD in class.
Clarity and classroom rules
Establish clear classroom rules, and remind the children of these periodically. Start every lesson the same way each time, as this gives security. Your demeanour should be positive, upbeat, firm but approachable.
Try to develop a signal that the child can recognise if they are misbehaving, or a way for them to alert you if they are feeling particularly agitated or upset.
For children with ADHD, sitting in traditional rows will work better than sitting around tables facing their peers. The child should be seated at the end of the row, away from windows, noisy pipes, doors, class pets and other distractions. Ensure that you have can maintain easy eye contact with them throughout the lesson.
Read lots more ways to spot and help a pupil with ADHD Hyperactivity, Impulsiveness, Inattention – A Teacher’s Guide To ADHD
Can you use any of Diana’s suggestions in your classroom? Have you found any alternative ways to help a pupil with ADHD? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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