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ADHD/Special Needs...

Teaching Misunderstood Kids and Their Parents

Laurie Hagberg

Overview of ADHD:

    * What is ADHD:

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    * What ADHD is NOT:

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    * ADHD is linked to:

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Teaching Students Who Have ADHD:

    * Students with ADHD cannot always change their behavior--I, as a teacher, can change mine.

    * To respect all students equally means to teach each student individually.

    * To teach students individually requires acknowledgement of how individuals think. (An interesting and informative book on this topic is Thinking In Pictures by Temple Grandin, a writer who is autistic)

    * Students with ADHD may appear to not pay attention at all, but more often it's that they are "hyper-attentive," taking in all of the stimuli around them simultaneously.

    * "Different" behavior is not necessarily misbehavior.

    * Some people are quieter when they are standing.

    * The impulsive, off-the-subject comment or question often reveals a mind at work.

    * The impulsive, critical comment or interruption must not be taken personally.

    * Students are individuals with a variety of interests and want to learn--even those who seem least motivated or those "not working to their potential."

    * Use multi-sensory approaches to giving information.

    * Incorporate small-group discussion prior to whole-class discussion to allow the impulsive students to have their say in a less distracting manner (you'll find that often what they have to say is valuable, when presented at the "right" time).

    * Begin and/or end class sessions with an activity such as journal writing or silent reading to help the ADHD students transition into or out of the previous activity.

    * Establish a daily routine--warn / advise students of changes in the routine ahead of time.

    * Provide students with 3x5 note cards on which they can jot down questions they have for you during a lecture or film, when perhaps speaking out would not be appreciated.

    * Seat students with ADHD near your desk--close enough that they can talk with you spontaneously (though with the understanding that you will not always allow talking).

    * Use the buddy-system--for yourself!

    * Be kind and discreet.

    * Be "party-wise."

    * Meet with parents regularly. Assure the parent that you want to help their child and you want to work with them as a team.

    * Let the parents talk. You may be the only other person who sees what difficulties this parent has been living with, as you spend extended time daily with their child.

    A thought: the behavior you must understand and adjust to and cope with and if possible change, during the next 9 months is what the parent has lived with since that child was born. Even so, this parent loves this child -- and trusts teachers to do the same.

All of the above written by Laurie Hagberg, 1998


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   The most valuable reward in teaching
is hearing a student say,
"Thank you for understanding me."

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