Being diagnosed with ADHD is a struggle on its own. A child suffering from ADHD may have difficulties studying, doing assignments, completing projects on time and even while paying attention to the subject matter taught in class.
ADHD can significantly impact the child’s grades as well as their attitude towards education. In such situations, teachers and educators are required to embrace unique teaching methods in order to cater to the needs of these children. Take a look at the various methods and techniques teachers can use to help children suffering from ADHD.
Customize Lesson Plans
Each child has a different learning style. When dealing with a child suffering from ADHD it is important to thoroughly communicate with the child to understand what he/she needs, in order to adapt to it. Some children may prefer talking about what he/she has learned, some would like to write it down to retain it, while some prefer visual aids to help them remember the subject. It’s all about really understanding what the child needs, and finding ways and teaching techniques that facilitate assimilation of the subject matter.
Illustrations can prove to be extremely helpful in case of word math problems. By simply drawing out the problem is enough to capture their attention and facilitate thinking! You can even use memory cards, dice and dominos to make numbers more enjoyable. In case of mathematical concepts that can be hard to grasp, make a song out of it and keep singing it to the kids, thereby enhancing retention of the subject matter.
Provide Constant Motivation
Children suffering from ADHD are most likely to suffer from motivational issues as a result of difficulties faced during studying. They may experience helplessness, frustration, anger which may lead to misbehavior. As a teacher, it is important not to give in and rather find ways to combat the problem. Make it a practice to make the curriculum as stimulating as possible, explain to the children the importance of what their learning by connecting it to familiar experiences.
For instance, recreate a popular TV game format such as Jeopardy to teach them simple calculations. Use projectors and audio-visual aids to enhance participation. Mix up the format by using different sources such as YouTube, online learning forums, graphic encyclopedias etc. You can then reward them for getting the answers right and ensure that their achievements are recognized among their peers to increase their willingness to study.
Structure Study Plans
Due to the short attention spans of children with ADHD, it is especially important for teachers to design lesson plans that accommodate their needs. It is preferable to break big subjects into smaller, more manageable chunks of mini lessons, keeping in mind the time aspect, so the child doesn’t get bored mid-lesson. The main goal is to recognize their individual learning patterns and apply them while planning the lesson structure.
Once you structure the study plans, set benchmarks for progress, learning expectations as well as the time required as per the student’s needs. Remember to accommodate time for reviewing the previously learned subject material. Employ the use of assistive technologies, audio visuals and cooperative learning strategies like the ‘pair-think-share’ where students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with their peers and come up with a mutual conclusion. Instead of silent reading time, start follow-along reading or partner reading or even play acting to keep students engaged. You can then keep a close tab on each student’s progress to assess whether the teaching methods are making an impact. If not, re-evaluate your lesson plans.
Extensive research and studies have proven the effects of using visual aids and manipulative while studying. It is advisable for teachers to carefully study their students to understand what type of study-aids work for them; it could be using play dough to form letters or bouncing a ball to learn counting and numbers. The idea is to incorporate a more hands-on teaching approach that truly resonates with the children and their understanding.
Use puppets to act out stories, ask questions that prompt responses about what happens next. You can even play-act the stories using voices and accents and encourage the children to participate! Give them time to think and put down their ideas on paper by writing or drawing and show them how it can be developed on.
Find their Favorites
Every child has a favorite; it could be a sport, a subject or even an activity! Find out what that is and use to promote a collaborative learning environment for them. For instance, you can devise a method that uses the sport your student enjoys as stimulus while studying a tough topic to ensure they are paying attention during the lesson. Then, as a reward for working so hard, compliment their efforts by allocating sufficient time to other subjects of their interest, like arts, dance, music or other creative avenues they might enjoy.
And last, but not the least, always remember that each and every child is unique! As an educator, it is your duty to identify your students’ unique problem areas and address them accordingly. You cannot assume anything to be common between any two children, let alone two children dealing with ADHD. Therefore, it is extremely important to really understand your students’ individual needs in order to create effective lesson plans and ensure retention of the study material!
Making education simple and easy to comprehend is Dana Jandhyala’s forte. She’s had a long career as an educator where she has taught in several different schools and institutes in multiple countries. Today, she helps students with personalized online tutorials by SchoolPage that help make concepts easy to understand, making learning fast and fun. She writes to help students study better, and to coach parents so they can facilitate the success of their children.