Every teacher with even a small amount of experience will know about students with ADHD or ADD. The student who can’t seem to sit still, who answers a question with an unrelated question or who stares out of the window attracted by birds, clouds or anything other than the lesson.
Every child is a challenge but a hyperactive student presents a unique and difficult test. The good news for teachers and parents is that there are techniques and strategies available to assist in the teaching of these children.
One thing which needs to be stressed is that hyperactive kids can be highly intelligent. They may be full of beans and seemingly disinterested in what the class is doing but if you can draw them into your stream of thought and activity, you will find a bright and clever individual.
The first and best technique for any teacher is to form a partnership with the ADHD student. It must never become a battle but rather a team effort. Make sure the child understands that you, the teacher, is on their side. You are their partner and together you will achieve great things.
Then you need some individual bonding. Agree to use certain movements – it could be a special hand signal – which you use only for your hyperactive student. They feel special that they have this unique communication and the teacher gets to head off any disruptive behavior before the class is disturbed.
This means the teacher needs to know the signs. What will trigger the lively and unwanted response from the ADHD student? Learn the signs and nip things in the bud with your personalized two-way language.
Now you need to get the physical situation in its best position. Don’t put the hyperactive student beside a window or door. Place them as close to your desk as is possible. Remember you can use hand signals to communicate and sight lines are therefore very important.
Simple adjustments to your teaching routine will greatly assist the energetic student. Give instructions one at a time and be prepared to repeat them. Use graphics and illustrations to make a point – simple flash cards will make giving instructions and making teaching points much clearer.
Allow the student to achieve success. Give them assignments or tests which guarantee success. Build the degree of difficulty from this low base. Don’t use timed tests or only a few. Anything which might distract the student is not good for their learning. Work on tricky or difficult activities early in the day. Be prepared to accept unfinished work with credit for that which has been completed.
Using eye contact with a student with ADHD is very important. It builds this feeling of a team effort, of a partnership and makes concentration and learning easier.
Color code material with subject materials branded with the same color for easier recognition. Give simple instructions and maintain eye contact when making a request. Private answers are better than a public examination.
These are simple adjustments to your teaching strategy but each is important to the learning success of your ADHD student.