Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder affects about 5% of schoolchildren - about two children in every class. Teachers and parents need to develop intervention and prevention skills for the sake not only of the affected child, but for the other students in the class who need a learning environment free from disruption.

It is a real challenge for teachers to cope with ADD/ADHD children who have great difficulty sitting still, paying attention and concentrating on the classwork in front of them. Without intervention, these children fall further and further behind and it is usually in third grade that they face the biggest challenges. Here they are expected to do more work on their own and have more homework to do, which they often lose or forget and they tend to perform poorly in tests they may have studied hard for the previous day. ADHD children may learn coping skills that serve them well at elementary level, but are lost when they move up to Junior high School. The symptoms do not automatically disappear at age 13 as some have said in the past but with teachers, parents and the student all working together, students with ADHD can be successful in junior and high school.

The following strategies are advised for ADHD students at all levels. Teachers should stress accuracy rather than quantity of work so the student does not feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Give 10 problems on a worksheet instead of 30 and set accuracy goals as the ADHD student tends to rush to be the first to finish work. Keep your worksheets simple, clear, in bold type, underlining important directions, and use colors for emphasis. Give frequent short quizzes and avoid long tests. Let the ADHD student practice tests and if possible allow them to do oral tests on a tape recorder.

Many of these strategies simply require forethought and do not impinge on lesson planning for the whole class. If the school provides a teacher's aide, or specialist teaching time, there are a wealth of resources, activities and worksheets available to help students who have difficulty focusing on routine or boring tasks. One of the best resources is Leaps, found on ww.goleaps.com. Leaps is a research-based, practical program that improves behavior, grades, and attendance in K-12 education and juvenile justice environments. With a comprehensive library of lessons and powerful, interactive assessments tools, Leaps provides educators and interventionists with customized, actionable plans to improve the child's social and emotional skills.

It is worth noting that children with undetected vision problems are sometimes inaccurately diagnosed as having ADD/ADHD so it is worth evaluating a child's vision if there are symptoms such as short attention span, daydreaming in class and poor handwriting, especially if the child's verbal ability surpasses his ability to learn visually.

As many teachers will acknowledge, they spend an inordinate amount of time and energy managing student behavior and misconduct. While most children easily adjust to the rules and routine defining conduct in the classroom, ADD/ADHD students need early diagnosis, support and intervention before behavioral problems become disruptive. Prevention programs that engage the whole school environment with a unified discipline approach, shared expectations for socially competent behavior and school-family-community linkages provide the best outcomes for all students, ADHD or not.

More Information

  1. ADDers.org
  2. ADD in School
  3. ADD Resource
  4. ADD Traits in Famous and Talented People from Born To Explore- The positive side of ADD.
  5. ADHD Owner's Manual
  6. Adult ADHD
  7. AfraidToAsk.com's ADHD Online Guide
  8. Attention Deficit Information Network- A nonprofit organization.
  9. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Overview and Theories on its Causes - A great article.
  10. Attention Deficit Information Network
  11. Born to Explore! The Other Side of ADD
  12. National Attention Deficit Disorder Association
  13. Teaching the ADD Child - Great ideas for educators and parents.