This blog post is going to discuss 15 different ways to help ADHD in classroom environment. We’ve discussed before what it’s like for a parent, adult, or child with ADHD to go through school. Teachers have initiative to make sure that each student gets through the program, does well on SOL tests, and has a memorable school experience. When it comes to ADHD tips for school, many teachers and parents are finding many ways to help the ADD Brain. Sign Up For “Nutrition Tips” webinar this week below:
We are working to implement brainwave-controlled video games into school systems. In this blog post, I’m going to take adaptations from Dr. Hallowell’s book and add my real life personal and professional experience. Handling ADHD at home is much different than learning ADHD Tips for school; so here is the list of tips for teachers of people of all ages who have the traits of ADD/ADHD:
- Have the kids with ADHD sit toward the front of the room (though not all together). Even better, have a circular seating arrangement. That way, someone is always looking at each student. It is very hard not to pay attention when someone is looking at
- Dr. Etka: it is now well known that the ADD brain has ‘hemisphericity’, meaning that basically one side is stronger than the other. we also know that the opposite train focuses to the opposite side. thus, by placing a children on the side of the room that has ‘stronger’ hemisphere, the attention and focus can more easily go to the center of the room.
- Use touch if it is allowed in your school. I shudder to think that Mrs. Eldredge’s arm is now illegal in many schools in this country. But if you are allowed to, touching a child on the shoulder, say, is a great way to provide encouragement and also bring his mind back into the room and the task at hand.
Dr. Etka: this is a ‘touchy’ subject. adults who can calmly place there hand on a child with ADD will help tremendously, but if the ‘touch’ is a stern grab, hold, or anything that can re-stimulate a childs memory of the typical life of an ADD child who has been reprimanded countless times (you catch my drift) – I love touch personally – as long as it is from a well meaning person who can encourage and support my goals and aspirations.
- Use eye contact. Your eyes can bring attention back into the room.
- Use kids’ names. When you hear your name it is almost impossible not to pay attention.
Dr. Etka: the eyes are the light of the soul. Looking into someone’s eyes – you can get a sense of what’s really going on inside. use visual connection as a means of communication to give the child the feeling that they are safe, they are understood, and that you really do want to help them. similarly, saying a child’s name in correct tone helps.
- Never keep kids in for recess. Exercise is essential for mental focus.
- Consider starting the day with some stretching exercises.
- Consider having the kids sit not in chairs but on exercise balls. That provides constant musculoskeletal stimulation, which is good for the brain, and also involves the cerebellum, which is good for focus.
- Emphasize proper brain care with the kids: eat right, get exercise, get enough sleep, don’t overdose on electronics.
Dr. Etka: totally agree!! people with ADHD need a way to ‘blow off’ their excess energy. nutrition is huge with helping to gain better control on impulsiveness of ADHD, the ball idea started in Europe and is wonderful. Chiropractically, it’s the spinal joints that send signals to the cerebellum to get it’s motor going, which then speaks to the pre-frontal cortex.
- Introduce new topics in terms of old topics already mastered. Kids with ADHD overheat easily. They get frustrated quickly when they sense they won’t understand something new. So, for example, when you start fractions explain right away that fractions are simply division written differently, and the kids have already learned division.
- Break down large topics or tasks into small, manageable bits. For example, a book report might be subdivided into eight steps, or a science project outlined in a dozen doable steps. Once again, this helps the child with ADHD not feel overwhelmed. It is also helpful for all the other kids as well.
- Notice and appreciate successful moments. Kids with ADHD often go through an entire day getting multiple reprimands or therapies without one single affirmation. Imagine how you’d feel if you went through your day like that.
Dr. Etka: at SeaWorld they train big powerful animals to do the amazing. many of the same principles apply here. taking something that may seem complex and showing the animal they already know each separate step, that actually, when put together create a totally awesome new feat of excellence. ( i do this when my extreme athlete sons get scared to try something ‘never done before’. by looking for the child to do the ‘right’ thing, it completely changes the training/teaching process… and the self esteem rises.. (trust me, a child with ADD can bring you tons of joy, or loads of frustration and pain – your choice)
- Stay in touch with parents, even if you don’t particularly love them. My best advice to teachers is the same advice I give to parents: make friends with each other.
Dr. Etka: not only can ADHD for teachers be very challenging to understand correctly, but also, a daunting task given the amount of kids in a class nowadays; help is mandatory from parents.
- Make sure the child has eaten properly before school –
- Don’t let the child or the parent use ADHD as an excuse. ADHD is not an excuse to get out of taking responsibility, but an explanation that leads to taking responsibility more effectively.
- During school, talk about when the teacher may let the person with ADHD have a snack in between classes.
- Don’t fall into the trap of the “moral diagnosis,” blaming the child’s difficulties on bad character. Look deeper than that. ADHD is a neurological trait, not a moral infirmity.
- Above all else, enjoy these kids. Nothing works better than that—both for the kids and for you.
Dr. Etka: I love Ned. he’s is such a genuine guy. understanding ADHD and having the compassion I have now, I have seen so many parents, adults and kids, begin to thrive while learning how to handle their ADD Brain better.
Adaptations taken from Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child, Edward H. Hallowell, M.D. and Peter Jensen, M.D. Ballantine, 2008