The level of kids with ADHD has risen drastically in the last several years. It is currently reported that over 5% of kids between ages 6-17 in the U.S. have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-ADHD. So, if you are a teacher or work with kids, at least one in every 25 kids in your class will have ADHD. There are some things that can be done in teaching style and classroom set up that will aid in successfully teaching this type of child.
The first thing you will want to do is gather information. Talk to their parents, previous teachers, read their school records, etc. to find out their typical behavior, ways they learn best, things that distract them and so on. Keep communication lines with the parents open using frequent communication in person, email, notes, and phone calls. It may be helpful to email the child’s assignments to the parents each week so that instructions will be clear.
As far as instructions, Helene Goldnadel suggests you to give them in short, easy-to-understand statements and have the student repeat the instruction back to you. Non-verbal clues such as raising your hand, blinking the light off and on or a quick tap with a pencil on the desk can be used to quiet students. You can use private clues for specific children, like a hand on the shoulder to show they are off task and need to refocus. Eye contact is very important when giving instructions.
Other methods to attain success are rewards such as stickers, charting points, smile and verbal praise. The child may find it helpful to have an organizational method, such as a checklist in order of priority, labeling their things as to what stays at school and what goes home, and have a certain routine that is followed every day so they know what comes next.
Other suggestions include seating the child next to the teacher to keep the child on task. Also sitting next to a child role model can help the ADHD child stay better focused. It is important to have a non-distracting classroom, especially during tests and other high focus activities. Be sure not to have them in a location that would seem to show punishment, but allows for them to focus with little distraction.
Some teachers find it helpful to use an egg timer to show the time available for certain activities and the child can see how much time is left for a certain project. Playing music during some class time may be a good indicator of the level of activity and noise that should be present in the class. For example, if it is a quiet, individual activity the teacher may play soft, quiet music. Also make sure that an ADHD child is comfortable in their desk space. If the furniture is too big or too small, it will make the child more likely to squirm.
Even though these ideas are helpful to kids with ADHD, they can be used to help any class of children. Most students do work better when following guidelines such as these listed.