ADHD / Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Help for Teachers
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Dr. Samuel R. Caron, Ph.D.
Teaching ODD / ADHD Strategies
Having children with ADHD in your class can be quite challenging, especially when you are simultaneously trying to teach and manage the entire class. We psychologists get to see the children one on one and frequently don’t realize what a challenge they are in groups. Following are a few suggestions:
1. Send a daily report home to let the parents know how the child is doing. Keep it simple and brief. It might be necessary to e-mail the report directly to the parent id the child has a difficult time getting it home.
2. Work closely with the parents, counselor, and physician as a team. They can help you to succeed. Your feedback to them is invaluable.
3. Provide a regular structure. Post the daily schedule. Children with ADHD have a difficult time dealing with change.
4. Keep lessons short. Frequent short lessons will work better than long ones.
5. Vary your instructional techniques. Use videos, overhead projectors, games, and computers. Many children with ADHD learn well on computers.
6. Seat the child with ADHD away from major distractions. Do not sit children with ADHD near each other. Often the best place for the ADHD child to sit is near the teacher’s desk.
7. Have an organized room to reduce distractions.
8. Use behavioral or response cost programs to increase motivation. These programs will also improve the motivation of your other students.
9. Break up assignments into smaller segments. This will reduce the possibility of the child becoming bored or overwhelmed.
10. Have parts of long term assignments due daily. This will reduce procrastination.
11. Give the child positive verbal feedback whenever possible.
12. Since children with ADHD often have problems with less structured situations such as time on the playground and lunch, develop a plan which will decrease the possibility of them getting in trouble during these times.
13. Children with ADHD often have social problems. Sometimes it is helpful to assign buddies to all of your children to improve socialization.
14. Since children with ADHD often need three or four times as much time to complete homework, reduce the amount of homework assigned. Assign homework wich emphasizes mastery of concepts rather than repetition.
15. Have clear and concise classroom rules with consequences for misbehavior.
16. Children with ADHD have difficulty making transitions from one activity to another. Cue them in advance of the transitions, give directions how to make the transitions, and praise them for transitioning succesfully.
17. Avoid allowing the ADHD child to become over stimulated in the class or on the playground. Sometimes a soft background can help calm down children.
18. Develop a strategy to easily remove the child from the classrom if necessary. Some days it is better for children with ADHD to be at home rather than being in trouble at school.
19. Find out what the child does well and encourage her/him to pursue that area. Many children with ADHD do well on computers. Others do well in art, music, sports, or constructing things with legos, etc. Praise the child for success in front of the rest of the class.
20. Use reminder signs around the classroom. Use kitchen timers to help the child focus on the passage of time.
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