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Uh, You Really Do Not Understand ADHD

on September 16, 2015

A teacher would not make a deaf student listen to Mozart with out their hearing aids or assign a blind student to read the daily newspaper without accommodations. So why is it that teachers, parents, and school administrators believe ADHD/ADD students should be super organized once diagnosis?  DUH, disorganization is the a HUGE problem for ADHD/ADD students and adults. Yes, you can give them agendas like you do all your students. Yes, you can write assignments on the board for them to copy like everyone else. Yes, you tell them twice like you do the rest of the class but you know what? They are not like the rest of the class.

Invisible disabilities cause more anxiety and depression issues because the visual clues are not there. ADHD/ADD and Dyslexia folks look just like everyone else. People with invisible challenges try harder than all the rest to hide their disabilities because folks just have a hard time believing they have such struggles. It might be easier if all such folks had a star on their right hand.

“Oh, okay. I see you have a star on your hand. Let me write these directions down for you so you can have a copy. I will also give you an outline of the chapter along with the assignments. Sue, who sits next to you, will be your study buddy to make sure you are writing down the facts you need. If you feel I rushed through a topic, please let me know so I can schedule a study review time for you.” That is what would happen if teachers saw a visual of ADHD/ADD or Dyslexia. But reality is, this will not happen in most schools or situations. If students heard this, the anxiety would reduce and I am willing to bet so would the teacher’s come time for assignments due and testing.

ADHD/ADD has the following characteristics:

  • Highly distracted
  • Disorganized
  • Excessive body movement
  • Talkative
  • Social interaction issues
  • Impulsive
  • Difficulty in settling down to focus

There are many classroom modifications which can reduce these often disruptive behaviors. First, everyone needs to understand these are not all horrible traits. Some of these traits can be gifts. Highly distracted people notice details others often miss. I do believe I would want a crime investigator with such skills. Disorganized students often make discoveries in the chaos OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) people do not. Many artist are inspired by what I call organized chaos. As a saying I love goes, a clean desk is often an unproductive desk. Allow students to find an app on their smart phone to remind them of assignments, track timelines and alert for events. Assistive technology works so much better for these students. Excessive movement can be reduced by using hand fidgets and sensory integration techniques. The brain needs outward movement to keep it focused. Yoga balls are great for such. Lots of research has been done of the use of yoga balls in school settings instead of chairs. By the way, yoga balls as seating help improve hand writing. Go research that. Talkative students can actually relay understanding and help other students who struggle. Be creative, put that kid’s motor mouth to good use. Social awkward students need social skill classes. With all the excessive technology and lack of face-to-face interaction, all students might need social skills training. It was actually a part of the kindergarten curriculum years ago. Also, recess was a huge classroom experience on social skill but that is not pretty much gone. Fight to get recess back in school. Impulsive behaviors can benefit from sensory integration and by making a student aware of the behavior in positive ways. It isn’t happening to bug you, it is part of the disability or challenge. You would not punish a blind child who accidentally grabs you trying to find his way around the classroom. You should not enforce excessive punishments for impulsive behavior of an ADHD child either.  Focusing is another difficult task for ADHD folks. Preferred classroom seating can make a difference. Use of aromas therapy or essential oils can help. Sensory integration tools such as hand fidgets can redirect the mind. Also soft lighting and low playing calming music.

Seek creative solutions or a person such as a life coach who specializes in working with people with ADHD. Not all school personnel understanding the options or know how to implement them. It all looks good on the IEP but is it being done effectively in the classroom? Some solutions might sound weird but the ADHD/ADD and dyslexic brain functions weird. Do not balk it until you have tried it. Have a sensory diet plan, have many options to chose from because not everything works all the time.

Please check out ADHD/ADD blogs on Creative Tidal Wave about Shark Like Focus and other neat tips for helping reduce the frustrations.

 

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