Teaching ADHD students can be described in many ways: frustrating, chaotic, exhausting, problematic, hilarious, uplifting… the list goes on. Nonetheless, being a teacher to ADHD students is both challenging and rewarding. Students with ADHD suffer from their ADHD symptoms from constant scolding, punishment, and teasing from peers at a young age; this creates a lower self-esteem and negative outlook on being in school.
As a teacher, your job is to help evaluate each student’s individual needs and strengths to create an environment to help them succeed. With a lot of patience, creativity, consistency, and understanding, these effective teaching tips can guarantee a successful classroom for every student.
Every ADHD student needs a little more patience and understanding than the rest of the classroom. By discovering ways and trying new approaches to make learning easier for them, you are helping set them up for success. It is less about how quickly they can catch up with the other students and more about figuring out ways to help them get the work done. Creating an environment that allows them to learn at their pace will help them gain confidence in their school work and learn to their full capabilities.
Level of Understanding
The best way to teach students with ADHD is to understand and learn about the disorder. Talk with other teachers who have ADHD students in their classroom. How do they handle their behavior and learning techniques? Use this as an opportunity to learn more about the disorder through relevant articles and resources. The best place to learn about the disorder is to start at home. Set up a meeting with the parents about their child. They will be your best resource to help you understand how to be an effective teachers for your ADHD student.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Establishing a daily routine that starts up right away can be helpful to all students but can prove to be especially beneficial for ADHD children. A specific way of doing things helps create consistency and patterns to help your ADHD students stay focused. Visual reminders of the schedule around the classroom or on their desk can be a subtle but useful to help keep everyone concentrated on the task at hand. Be sure to include frequent breaks as part of the routine; this will help them to not lose their attention while giving a refreshing pause from the workload.
Talk it Through
Clear and constant communication should be a given in any learning environment. When teaching children with ADHD, having them repeat back the directions to reassure understanding can be mutually beneficial for both teacher and student. In addition to being an open communicator with ADHD kids, it’s just as important to be able to freely talk with their parents. Making sure there is no gap in communication is crucial to a smooth educational experience and to keep everyone on the same page with the same goals.
In this day and age, distractions are around every corner. Providing a distraction-free or distraction-minimal environment is ideal for ADHD students. Distractions can come wearing many masks – one of which being choices. We have all been in the situation where we’ve had too many choices, thus inhibiting us from making any decision at all. Try to limit the amount of choices you offer your ADHD students to make their decision-making less overwhelming and more achievable. For test taking or tasks that require immense concentration, create a quiet area or block out quiet time.
Labels and Checklists
Organization is an important skill to instill in all students and practice ourselves. When working with ADHD kids, intentionally labeling folders with “Do This” and “Done” can be incredibly practical because it visually lays out what is left and what has been accomplished so far. Checklists and charts can be another way to relay the same information. Don’t undervalue the importance of the work that has already been done – every completed assignment is a reason to celebrate.
Through the low points and high, be assured that teaching ADHD kids is no easy task; however, with patience, understanding, and intentionality, shaping an effective educational environment, no matter the learning differences, will help you become a better teacher, but most importantly, set each student up for success.