Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)- Instructional Strategies and Behavioral Strategies
More tips to increase self-control with ADHD students in elementary school.
- Use a kitchen timer to indicate periods of intense independent work and reinforce the class for appropriate behavior during this period. Start with brief periods (5-10 minutes) and gradually increase the period as the class demonstrates success. When necessary, develop contracts with an individual student and her/his parents to reinforce a few specific behaviors.
- Set hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly goals depending on the reinforcement needs of the ADHD student. Provide frequent feedback on the attention deficit student's progress toward these goals.
- Provide a changing array of backup rewards or privileges so that ADD ADHD students do not "burn out" on a particular system. For example, students can earn tickets for a daily or weekly raffle for the display of positive behavior.
- To improve out-of-the-classroom behavior, allow the class to earn a reward based on he compliments they receive on their behavior from other teachers, lunchroom staff, playground aides and principals.
- Avoid giving the whole class negative consequences based on the ADHD child's behavior. The Attention Deficit child, as well as the whole class, can benefit from implementation of social skills curriculum for the entire class.
- Modeling and requiring the children to use a systematic method of talking through classroom conflicts and problems can be particularly valuable for the ADD ADHD child.
- Praise specific behaviors. For example, "I like how you wrote down all your assignments correctly," rather than, "Good boy!"
- Use visual and auditory cues as behavioral reminders. For example, have two large jars at the front of the room, with one filled with marbles or some other object. When the class is behaving appropriately, move some marbles to the other jar and let the students know that when the empty jar is filled they can earn a reward.
- Frequently move about the room, manage by "walking around." When you catch your ADD ADHD student working on-task, reward him with a simple wink or smile. "I like the way that you are working hard" goes a long way with Attention Deficit students.
- With students who can be quite volatile and may initially refuse negative consequences (such as refusing to go to time-out), set a kitchen timer for a brief period (1-2 minutes) after refusal has occurred. Explain to the child that the child can use the two minutes to decide if she/he will go to time out on her/his own or if more serious consequence must be imposed. Several experienced teachers insist this method has successfully reduced the extent to which they have had to physically enforce certain negative consequences with students and seems to de-escalate the situation.
- Elementary School and ADHD: Improving Social Skills Provide a safe environment for the child with ADD ADHD. Make sure the child knows you are his friend and you are there to help him. Treat him with respect. Never belittle him in front of his peers. Both he and the other children know that he stands out, and if the teacher belittles the child, then the rest of the children will see that as permission from the teacher to belittle the child as well. Children can be cruel. Students with attention deficit disorder can experience many difficulties in the social area, especially with peer relationships. They tend to have trouble picking up social cues, they act impulsively, have limited self-awareness of their effect on others, display delayed role-taking ability, and over-personalize other's actions as being criticism, and tend not to recognize positive feedback.
- ADD ADHD students tend to play better with younger or older children when their roles are clearly defined.
- These attention deficit students tend to repeat self-defeating social behavior patterns and not learn from experience.
- Conversationally, they may ramble and say embarrassing things to peers.
- Areas and time-periods with less structure and less supervision, such as the playground and class parties, can be a problem. Students with good social awareness and who like to be helpful can be paired with the ADD ADHD child to help. This pairing can take the form of being a "study buddy", doing activities/projects, or playing on the playground.
- Cross-age tutoring with older or younger students can also have social benefits. Most successful pairing is done with adequate preparation of the paired student, planning meetings with the pair to set expectations, and with parental permission. Pairing expectations and time-commitments should be fairly limited in scope to increase the opportunity for success and lessen the constraints on the paired students.
- Academic intervention is a term simply used to describe the process by which an educator, or school administrator, may use specific academic-focused methods to guide a student with special needs down a more concise learning pathway. As a new educator, using academic interventions will serve beneficial to you as you begin to develop your own style of teaching students with special needs.
- One of the best ways to encourage learning in Attention Deficit Disorder students is to develop an academic intervention known as peer partnership. In peer partnership, you, as the teacher of the students with special needs, will assign a non-special needs student to act as a peer. This peer-to-peer relationship works best for students with ADD as it will help to develop interpersonal skills with someone their own age but will also encourage compliance in the classroom setting.
- In addition to peer partnerships, another academic intervention may include simplifying directions into smaller steps and sequences. If students are expected to finish a rather large project, breaking that project into smaller steps, and minimizing instructions into smaller fragments will allow an ADD student a greater opportunity for successfully completing the project at hand.
- Visual guides also encourage attention and focus in ADD students. While many student activities encourage the use of bars, graphs, pictures and charts, for ADD students, these types of visual aides are vitally important. Even for students who are not diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, the use of visual guides and visual aides in the classroom may lead to more success in school especially if those students are more visual learners than auditory learners.
- Daily Report Card (DRC): The DRC is an intervention that requires parents and teachers to identify 3-5 problem behaviors to work on. These behaviors are translated into daily goals for the child. For example, the daily goals for a child with ADHD might be: 1) Follow class rules, 2) Complete assigned work, and 3) Get along well with peers. At the end of each day, the teacher gives the child a grade to indicate how well each goal was met and the child takes the report card home and either earns or loses privileges depending on the grades received for that day. This intervention thus provides parents with a daily report of how their child is doing in key academic and behavioral areas and enables parents to provide their child with appropriate consequences.
- Response Cost Technique (RCT): In this the child earns points in the classroom for exhibiting specific positive behaviors (e.g. completing tasks) and loses points for exhibiting negative behaviors (e.g. blurting out answers). The teacher keeps a running tally of the child's point total and at predetermined times during the day, the child is allowed to redeem points for a list of pre-determined rewards (e.g. access to the class computer). The different reward options are worked out in advance and each reward costs a specified number of points.
- Classroom Lottery (CL): This is an intervention in which all children in the classroom earn points based on their behavior. The teacher establishes a brief list of class rules and posts them. Students are told they will earn class jobs (e.g. line monitor, office messenger) according to how well they follow the rules. At unannounced times during the day, the teacher checks to see who is following the rules and the names of these children are written down. At the end of the day, the names of children who were following the rules at a predetermined level (e.g. 4 out of 5 times checked) are written down and placed in a "hat". The teacher then draws names from the hat to match the number of class jobs available and each child selects a job when their name is drawn. A nice feature of this system is that it is used to manage an entire classroom and does not require special treatment for students with ADHD.