ADHD:Need more than a list of symptoms

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Christine3, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Christine3

    Christine3 Cohort

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    Jan 1, 2009

    Do you have ADHD students in your classroom?

    What behaviors do they show?

    I'm not so much looking for their symptoms, but how the symptoms appear in the classroom.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. loveforquantum

    loveforquantum Rookie

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    Jan 1, 2009

  4. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jan 2, 2009

    I think we all have, or will have, kids with ADHD in our classrooms.

    The behaviors vary widely. A whole lot of different behaviors are lumped in under the the designation.

    If properly medicated, I think you would have difficulty picking them out in a class. The problem is that getting the medication right is an art, not a science, and not many doctors seem to be good at it.

    If unmedicated, some kids have trouble sitting still. I had one who would get out of his desk and stand by me. I let him do it because he was paying attention and it was what he needed to do. The other kids at first asked why I let him get up and not them, but they figured it out soon enough. I had another kid with a similar problem who was aware of it and asked to be allowed to stand in the back of the classroom. Other kids just are easily distracted. Any little change in the environment will cause them to lose focus. This is often manifested in them starting to talk to their classmates. You just have to redirect them over and over.

    If overmedicated, the kids I have had were lethargic, unable to focus, incapable of doing class work let alone taking a test. I would much rather have the unmedicated kid. I can work with that. There is nothing you can do with an overmedicated kid.
     
  5. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Jan 2, 2009

    I have had a student for two years who has severe ADHD.

    This is how he was last year.

    *He burst out frequently during whole group. He cannot contain himself until he says what he has to say.
    *He gets overly furstrated when he does not understand something right away. If it is not easy for him, he can break down.
    *Cannot control impulses. He frequently touches other students and hugs them.
    *All he wanted to do was play. His aide and I timed him to see how long he could sit still over a period of week and it average out to about 2 minutes.
    *He would pick stuff up off of the floor or pick something off of my shelf while I was teaching.
    *When he got REALLY frustrated, he would run out of the classroom and run around the campus.
    *He needed very simple step by step instructions. If he had too many steps, he would get frustrated.
    *Very overly stimulated at the beginning. He could not concentrate on me. He was looking out the window, at the students, at the walls.
    ADHD students tend to be sensitive to senses and cannot isolate just one sense.

    THIS year, it is a whole other story. He FINALLY has the proper medication and we have him on a very STRICT schedule. ADHD students thrive on routine, they need it! He can now sit still on the rug for about 20 minutes at a time (he still fidgets and rocks back and forth though). I also gave him choices. If he was not following directions or started to refuse to do something I would say " Okay, you can either do this activity or you can go sit at your table." Giving him a choice helped him to decide how he was going to act that day. If he did go to the table, we would not acknowledge him at all and that REALLY bothered him so he would eventually come and join us again. I also have an area with bean bags and if he was overly upset, he would go and cool off in that area. We had to redirect him all the time but you have to keep your cool. If you lose your patience, that makes it worse. Last year, he was able to hold something in his hands during instruction to keep his hands busy. This year, I don't allow that anymore because he can handle sitting still now.

    Last year, I wanted to ram my head into the wall, but this, I am amazed by how far he has come. I am so proud of him!:)
     
  6. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jan 2, 2009

    I have one student who has severe ADHD.

    She is a tapper, to the point where she annoys all those around her. When you remind her to stop, she will stop, but then something else will start. She's a very sweet girl, but so impulsive. She can't control her fidgetiness. This all translates into lack of good friendships because she has a tendency to annoy other students (and having just moved into a small community in grade six hasn't helped matters much).

    Another student I have is less into the tapping, but he will fidget. He will tie his shoes and untie his shoes over and over again... especially when he is overwhelmed. A test with a lot of questions will drive his attention to his shoes, but if you have him write a test in a quieter area (Resource room for example) he will do fine. He is also very impulsive, and will do things that end up getting him in trouble, just because he doesn't think before he acts.
     
  7. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Jan 2, 2009

    I can tell you about my own experience as an inattentive: easily bored--unless I loved the subject, I couldn't pay attn to save my life; easily frustrated--I only did it if it was easy--fortunately for me, most of my work was easy; some inattentives who are fairly tractable in elementary school can start to get kind of wild in middle and high school--their symptoms can worsen as they deal with things like hormones and depression, and they may begin to experiment with drugs and unrestricted sex--as they mature, this will probably pass; many suffer from social problems--this can get tricky to distinguish them from Asperger's, but it's mainly a degree of severity--their eye contact is better, but not great and they do foolish and immature things to gain their classmates attention; terribly disorganized--they may have a very messy desk or a backpack that sprouts cockroaches, and be chronically unable to locate the homework, which probably didn't get done anyway; they can be very sensitive to criticism from anyone, and their social problems may lead them to irritate classmates to the blowing point, and then they get hurt by the reaction--after all, they were only looking to amuse; they often forget things or mix up dates--to this day I still show up for meetings at the wrong time or place, despite my best efforts to keep it straight--stress and a busy schedule makes this worse; oh, procrastination--they never do today what they can do tomorrow--many kids do this, but kids with ADD always do, unless, again, it is an activity that they really enjoy--you can feed out the projects in small pieces--some things get procrastinated on more than others--I have problems getting myself to mail stuff out in a timely manner, which has given me a lot of problems with late bills and such

    You may think when you have a kid that shows all these symptoms, but can really concentrate on certain things like reading, that maybe they don't have ADD, but you might be wrong. They can concentrate well when they are doing something they find really interesting--I love to read and I read more than anyone I know, so for years I missed the ADD dx, but that fits too. I have a few problems with reading b/c I am constantly having to pull myself back on task, even w/ a book I love, but only I know this--I'd be a pretty fast reader otherwise.

    Some teachers and parents and even the kids themselves can be so focused on the negative aspects that they can forget that there are many positive aspects as well. These kids can be more perceptive--you'll have this kid with the most obnoxious social skills and discover that they can read more into your soul than anyone you know. They can be very sensitive to yours and others' feelings. They can make connections between ideas that would amaze you, b/c their mind is traveling a different path--they may say something that seems totally inappropriate, but then you find out that they provided that missing link that you were looking for--it went by a rather circuitous route is all. They can gather creative ideas from almost anywhere--I remember when I was in the second grade, we had a science textbook that had a picture of a rabbit sleeping in its hole in the ground. This started me on this whole fantasy of having an underground home sort of like a hobbit house and I drew pictures and designed a whole house with tunnels running between the rooms. I didn't learn any science during that time, but I sure had some entertaining fantasies about my little house. The things that ADD kids do well, they often do very well--I have an uncanny sense of direction that I didn't discover until I was in my 30's--I am handy to have on a trip. These are always skills that they can't seem to make any money from!

    To work with their strengths, you can let them attack a project from their favorite angle--that science teacher might have held my interest if she had assigned me a project about animal homes and how people might get ideas from them. They love love love brainstorming sessions b/c this entirely pulls from their expertise. If they have problems with classmates, you can use their strengths to help them shine in front of their classmates, so that it might occur to them that this is the type of attention they really like, and cause them to lose those annoying behaviors. Show them how to take notes with the mind mapping method (google that), and how to make it really attractive--if they have some colored pencils they can make it a piece of art, even w/o drawing skills, and while they are doing that, they can be thinking of the subject matter while coloring in the little doodles. If they're learning something like math facts, you can challenge them to think of a game or other method to most efficiently learn those facts. Actually, it just occurred to me that kids with ADD love thinking with the higher level thinking skills, which is the opposite of what you'd think--the higher up you go in Bloom's Tax, the better they love it.
     
  8. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Jan 3, 2009

    OH that was a long post and now I have more to add. A couple of more things about ADD kids--they are often underestimated by other people--they may be seen as silly b/c they make remarks that seem to be totally off subject. The other kids underestimate them and poor teachers can too. A better teacher may see that they have higher potential than they show in their schoolwork and work to draw out that potential. If they do say something silly when you are trying to generate comments in class, ask them to clarify what they just said, and if it still doesn't make sense, ask them for the stream of thoughts that led to that comment--you may be surprised. You won't have the time to do this all the time, but every now in then when it seems important will be enough.

    Also, ADD kids are very good at getting the big picture, and terrible at details. They need to get the big picture early on in a unit so they can hang those details on to the framework--actually this is probably important for all kids. I was always terrible at history until I got out of school and read books, and I realized that I learn history better by "issues"--that is slavery, civilization, inventions, etc. The textbook way of teaching history is terrible for me.

    One thing I have noticed is "holes" in my listening. I will try very hard to listen when someone is giving directions and I will still miss something important. If the instructions were posted on the board I could refer back to that. We are often embarrassed about this inability to listen well so are afraid to ask someone for help. How many times have I heard a teacher say: "But weren't you listening?" The fact is, I tried.

    Also, I was always very slow. Teachers used to bark at me to hurry up, but I was too busy noticing how the fly on the wall would rub its little hands. This can throw you off the dx b/c we think of ADD kids as bouncing off the walls and always in fast motion.

    Well I've mainly given you stuff about inattentive ADD b/c that's my experience, and it's harder to dx. Just remember that we are often embarrassed by our deficits and will come up with clever ways to disquise them. Our strengths are often unrecognized b/c the majority of people just don't understand them, but they are major strengths. A little recognition of them would go a long way to building the self esteem of kids with ADD.
     

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