Strategies For Teaching Children With ADHD In The Public School Classroom

As a teacher, part of your job is classroom management. When you have a child who is consistently difficult to manage, like those who are diagnosed with Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder, classroom management because even more challenging. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies you can employ to help keep the classroom running smoothly while also helping the child in question to actually learn while in school. 

1. Work Out An Agreement With Your Student

Part of the challenge of managing a child who struggle with ADHD is that too often educators get into the "me against them" attitude. It doesn't have to be this way. Take time to meet with your student and discuss some the challenges they might have in class. Perhaps they have trouble sitting still or shouting out off-topic answers during inappropriate times. Come up with solutions that your student can get behind.

For example, you could show your student you understand his or her need to move by allowing him to squeeze a stress ball during class or by rewarding him or her with a ten jumping jacks if he sits quietly for ten minutes. Let your student provide suggestions for solutions as well in order to make them feel like they are helping to solve their own problems. 

This can be empowering to your student because you are showing him or her that ADHD does not have to limit them or make them into a "problem" child. You are teaching them methods of coping that they will be able to take with them into the real world. 

2. Have Warning Signs

Sometimes, part of the challenge of ADHD is that children can be disruptive without even realizing the behavior is disruptive. It is your job to help a student learn about his or her own behavior. If your student is consistently tapping a pencil or says something disruptive during an activity, you can quietly correct it by giving a sign. For example, you could give your student a thumbs down or make eye contact with them and tug your ear. If you and your student have agreed on a "warning" beforehand, you help them to self-regulate. It also gives them a second chance to earn the normal rewards of good behavior.

3. Praise Your Student For Good Behavior

When your student with ADHD does have a good day, let them know. Name the things they did well using specific language. For example, you might say, "I noticed you finished three whole sentences in your workbook before taking a break. That's awesome!" or "When we were reading, I noticed you were using your finger to help yourself follow along and pay attention. That's a really good skill." These types of positive re-enforcement help in two ways: they teach the child what you expect from them, and the student is encouraged to try these things in the future.

As a teacher, you can do a lot for students who have ADHD. Your classroom does not have to be a battlefield. With some strategies and effective planning, your student will be well on his or her way to success. For more advice, speak with professionals like Lazaroff & Lazaroff - Beatrice S. Lazaroff, Ph.D./Jerry M. Lazaroff, Ph.D.