In the Classroom: Tips for Managing ADHD
In this video Dr. Jonas Bromberg speaks with 5th grade teacher Jon Weinberger of the Lawrence school in Brookline, MA, about his strategies for managing and improving the classroom experience for children with ADHD.
ADHD is a condition that revolves around hyperactivity and the lack of ability to concentrate. This can be challenge enough at home, but in the classroom it can become a nightmare. Here are some tips to help your child find success in the classroom:
Education to the Rescue
You may have heard of a piece of important legislation in the US called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It ensures that people with disabilities have the right to equal education in the American school system. So, whatever is needed to make “equal education” happen for anyone with a classified disability, the educational system must provide.
Fortunately, ADHD is classified as a learning disability and therefore qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Public schools have to provide modifications within the classroom so that the same level of education can be achieved by children with disabilities, including ADHD. Some non-religious private schools also fall under the mandate of the ADA.
That means that your child can be tested by the school system (including school counselors and psychologists) and found to qualify for modified services. At that point, an individualized education plan (IEP) will be instituted for them. An IEP is a written document that lays out what educational services the school psychologist has determined that your child needs according to their ADHD diagnosis.
An IEP team is assembled at public schools to deal with these students. It often includes the principal of the school (or his designee), the teachers, the parents, specific service providers, school counselor and school psychologist. The IEP states what services will be provided, when they will be provided and for how long. The document is reevaluated each year to enhance or lessen services based on progress. Modifications are also made in the classroom by the teachers to accommodate the students learning ability.
Here are some tips that can be instituted in the classroom to make learning easier for a child with ADHD.
1. Sit close to the front of the classroom – Students with ADHD are easily distracted. When they are at the front of the room, other students, people outside of the classroom and other distractions are less of an issue.
2. Write assignments on the board – This helps the child stay organized. When a child can see what they have to do, they can write it down and remember it.
3. Review classroom rules with the student – Yes, a child with ADHD may hear the rules but not always comprehend or remember them. Review of the rules and also having them clearly written on a bulletin board in plain site can assist in helping them comply.
4. Give feedback – Praise a child for doing well, but also point out wrong behavior right away so it can be corrected. If the behavior issue is minor, it is better to ignore it in favor of more prominent issues.
5. Allow for breaks – When a child who has trouble keeping still can move around, they feel more comfortable in the classroom. Burning off nervous energy can also contribute to better concentration.
Your child can find success in the classroom even with ADHD. The educational system has to comply with the conditions of this disability and provide your child a quality and equal educational opportunity.
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