Those who make their living educating children will likely be faced with the challenge of teaching children who suffer from ADHD with relative regularity. The diagnosis of this behavior-related disability is continually on the rise, meaning that each year you progress into your tenure, your class will likely be filled with even more of these kids. To ensure students who suffer from this disorder, as well as the peers with which they share a class, receive a quality education, you must confront and conquer the challenges associated with educating children who suffer from ADHD.
Frequency of ADHD in Students
ADHD use to be an almost unheard of disorder, but in recent years the number of children receiving an official ADHD diagnosis has been on the rise. The U.S. Department of Education reports that 1.46 to 2.46 million children in the United States suffer from ADHD. This means that 3 to 5 percent of the student population is made up of children with ADHD.
Because each child with ADHD differs in behavior and temperament, the way in which you deal with each ADHD child must differ as well. To remediate the behavior of ADHD students and educate them, teachers must get to know each child and determine what particular challenges his ADHD presents, and then develop a plan to overcome those challenges.
Overcoming the Fidgets
The hyperactivity inherent to ADHD makes fidgeting quite common. While fidgeting may not seem like a big deal, it can be distracting to both other peers and the teacher. If you have a student who just can’t sit still, consider providing him with an outlet for his energy. For example, give the child a squeeze ball. Not only does this practice focus his energy, it may also make it easier for the child who suffers from ADHD to learn, as he can release his excess energy in a non-distracting manner while still paying attention to the lesson in question.
Impulsivity and Behavior Management
Many ADHD children suffer from impulsivity, or overly impulsive behavior. This failure to think before acting can make ADHD children particularly prone to behavior problems. These students may, for example, not step back and calm down when faced with peers who are picking on them. Instead, he may strike the offending classmate. If you notice that your ADHD students seems to lack impulse control, you may need to speak about this and develop a plan to help him control his behavior. For example, you could create a system in which he immediately leaves the situation and writes down what was bothering him so that he can share it with you instead of acting aggressively. Not only will this practice help the child behave better at school, but it will also set him up for later-in-life success as he will be better able to handle his impulses when he is an adult.
Minimizing the Impact on Peers
One challenge associated with educating ADHD children is to ensure that their hyperactivity doesn’t impact the learning of other children. If you have an ADHD child who is particularly prone to getting out of his seat or doing things that might otherwise distract his classmates, place him near the back of the room where his behaviors will have less effect. If you notice that some classmates seem particularly bothered by the student’s over-exuberance, speak with them about the situation.