We’ve noticed something on The ADD Lab’s Facebook page.When we encourage fellow ADDers to share their challenges with us, the topic that always seems to take center stage is parent-teacher communication (or sometimes lack thereof) and the lack of support and info for teachers around the topic of ADD. So with World Teacher’s Day just around the corner we thought we’d share some tips for dealing with ADD kids in the classroom.
Tips for parents:
- The diagnosis – Make sure that what you’re dealing with is in fact ADD/ADHD.
Over diagnoses of these two learning challenges is a major concern. Establishing what you’re
dealing with, will influence how you and the teacher approach the issues faced in class.
- Plan ahead – Speak to your child’s teacher before the school year starts and discuss the
challenges. It’s a good idea to meet once a month. Stick to these meetings, and try and meet in the classroom so that you can see what your child deals with every day
- Create goals – Discuss your hopes and dreams for your child and write them down together.
Share information on a continuous basis.
- Listen – At times it’s going to be difficult to hear what the teacher has to say. Avoid interrupting
or becoming despondent.
- Honesty – Be honest about the struggles you and your child face. Talk about any medications they take or treatments they are receiving. Ask if your child is having trouble at school and if he/she can get any special services or attention to help them succeed.
Tips for teachers:
- The basics – Attention Deficit Disorder affects every child’s brain differently. This means that one child with ADD can display certain symptoms and the next could display a completely different set of symptoms. Understanding the symptoms will help you manage them better in class.
- Learning – All children learn differently, especially those with a learning difficulty. Our next blog post will cover the three types of learning, so be sure to check back and see how you can adapt your teaching style.
- Distractibility – Children with ADD can be distracted by just about anything. Even their own thoughts. Seat them away from windows and doors. Move classroom pets into another room. Incorporate movement into tasks and lessons. Break big tasks into smaller chunks and allow them to take breaks.
- Interrupting – Children with ADD struggle with impulse control and may shout things out when inappropriate or interrupt. Remember that their self-esteem is also more fragile than other’s, so pointing out “bad behavior” in front of the class won’t help. Teachers have seen great success with creating a secret language between them and the ADD child. A sign or gesture that only the two of you know about, that addresses the interruption. Also remember that praise for interruption-free classes, lessons and tasks is always good.
- Impulsivity – Children with ADD act before they think. This sometimes creates social difficulty when the child is perceived as aggressive or unruly. Make sure that you and the parent have a behavior plan in place and that the child is aware of the plan and the consequences of unruly behavior. It’s also important that you present as a parent-teacher team and let the child know that you came up the rules together. Act swiftly and always follow through with the consequences, Writing down a schedule for the day will also make the child feel more in control and less likely to act out.
- Fidgeting – Is one of the more common symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Hyperactivity can be addressed by asking the child to do a small task for you – pack away toys or wash some dishes. They key is for them to move. Always encourage them to play a sport and make sure that they never miss a break time.
- Following directions – This is probably the most common symptom of ADD. Children might look like they are following instructions when they are taking notes, but they tend to miss a few steps and end up doing something completely different. Always redirect with a firm tone. Knowing what type of learner you’re dealing with will keep them engaged and on track.
Children with ADD struggle with the most basic tasks of sitting still and being quiet. In school they are expected to do these basics all day long. And contrary to popular belief, ADD kids want to be like their unaffected peers, but because their brains work differently, their bodies simply won’t allow them too.
If you would like Mitzi to do a talk at your school to assist your parent-teacher relationships or suspect that your child has been misdiagnosed with ADD, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011 888 9334.
In our next blog post we discuss how to help your ADD child learn better by looking and the different types of learning. So remember to check back at the end on the month, or subscribe if you would like to receive our emails with helpful hints and ADD tips.