How to teach a child with ADD/ADHD

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by srfjeld, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Sep 16, 2011

    I have an undiagnosed child in my first grade class and I'm at a loss on what to do with him. I teach at a charter school and this year our services were taken away by the district. Legal? Of course not, but what are we to do? This poor child cannot control himself. He can't sit still or pay attention for any length of time. The only time he can focus is if there is a task at hand on his desk. As an example, yesterday I was instructing the class in a math lesson and we were all practicing how to do plus ones, count forward and backward on a number line, etc. And when I passed out the worksheet it was like he woke up but looked at his paper and said, I don't know how to do this as if he'd never seen it before. I have him sitting right in front of me and I get so frustrated when I'm teaching and see him sitting there sucking on his water bottle or putting his jacket over his head and making noises that I end up getting upset with him and I KNOW that doesn't help. I have emailed the mom asking to have a sit-down but, as you know, we have to be sooooo very careful of what we say. I have heard they are a very religious family who hasn't even considered that this might be a real condition, even though he's had trouble at his other school and then last years kinder teacher at our school spoke with her about his behavior.
    I just don't want to "leave this child behind" simply b/c we don't have the resources. But, I also don't have the time to spend with him one on one for every thing we are learning. Suggestions???

    Thank you,

    Stephanie
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 16, 2011

    The school district he lives in must evaluate
     
  4. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Sep 16, 2011

    Strategies to teach children with ADD

    -Kids with attention deficit disorder respond best to specific goals and daily positive reinforcement—as well as worthwhile rewards. Yes, you may have to hang a carrot on a stick to get your child to behave better in class. Create a plan that incorporates small rewards for small victories and larger rewards for bigger accomplishments.

    -Helping kids who distract easily involves physical placement, increased movement, and breaking long work into shorter chunks.

    -Seat the child with ADD/ADHD away from doors and windows. Put pets in another room or a corner while the student is working.
    - Alternate seated activities with those that allow the child to move his or her body around the room. Whenever possible, incorporate physical movement into lessons.
    -Write important information down where the child can easily read and reference it. Remind the student where the information can be found.
    - Divide big assignments into smaller ones, and allow children frequent breaks.

    Reducing the interruptions of children with ADD/ADHD should be done carefully so that the child’s self-esteem is maintained, especially in front of others. Develop a “secret language” with the child with ADD/ADHD. You can use discreet gestures or words you have previously agreed upon to let the child know they are interrupting. Praise the child for interruption-free conversations.

    Strategies for combating hyperactivity consist of creative ways to allow the child with ADD/ADHD to move in appropriate ways at appropriate times. Releasing energy this way may make it easier for the child to keep his or her body calmer during work time.

    Ask children with ADD/ADHD to run an errand or do a task for you, even if it just means walking across the room to sharpen pencils or put dishes away.
    Encourage the child to play a sport—or at least run around before and after school.
    Provide a stress ball, small toy, or other object for the child to squeeze or play with discreetly at his or her seat.
    Limit screen time in favor of time for movement.
    Make sure a child with ADD/ADHD never misses recess or P.E.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sep 16, 2011

    If he is undiagnosed, how do you know it is ADD/ADHD? Many different disabilities have similar symptoms to ADD/ADHD. For example, an auditory processing problem can cause a child to not be able to understand group lessons and then because of boredom or anxiety, they can wander. An undiagnosed language problem can also cause a child to be not engaged in lecture and not be able to follow along. Sometimes 1:1 can help because you tailor your language to the child's response.

    First of all, you can't label a child ADD or ADHD. I wouldn't jump the gun concluding you know what is "wrong" with him, but I would sure put in that paperwork asap to have him evaluated.
     
  6. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Sep 16, 2011

    With my husband, frequent breaks help a lot. :)
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 16, 2011

    FASD also looks like and acts like ADHD, but isn't ADHD.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Sep 16, 2011

    How did you manage to get only one kid like that. I have at least four.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sep 16, 2011

    I didn't give suggestions.

    When discussing it with mom do not under any circumstances even hint at a lable such as ADHD. However, factually document what is going on without any guessing as to why. For example, note that during group instruction he is wandering or sucking on the water bottle with his jacket pulled on his head, etc. Do not under any circumstances even hint as to any suspicions as to why. Also include objective methods that you used to re-direct him and approaches you used to instruct him. Do also include positive things such as the eagerness to do the work when it is given to him. That is positive.

    What to do in the classroom? As others have suggested, re-direction, engagement, etc. Keep notes as to what you see and what works and WHAT DOESN'T work.

    Also, talk to the student and maybe he will tell you why he doesn't "listen" to the lecture in his best kid explanation. Don't lead him there with leading questions.
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Sep 16, 2011

    A couple of years ago I had a child who had problems staying focused. Mom, Dad & I talked. What worked for this child was that EVERY day after school someone took him to the park to run & play for about an hour. If that didn't happen, for whatever reason, I knew it the next day. His ability to focus and stay on task was always lower if he hadn't had that hour of fresh air the night before.

    He was not diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, in part because the parents didn't want to medicate him. But they were willing to do something to help him focus.

    Build a relationship with the parents. Document, document, document.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 16, 2011

    I'm a professional educator, not a doctor. I have a student this year with ADHD. Diagnosed. Big time. His mom prefers that he not be on meds because he gets severe headaches... It's NOT MY JOB to recommend meds.I can, however, document and share with mom his academic performance and behaviors...the music teacher told me today that he is so much more unsettled this year than last...yet I find him sweet, bright,...and immature..but manageable...keeping notes to share with mom... But always cognizant that meds are not my decision or area of expertise.:2cents:
     
  12. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Sep 16, 2011

    a2z, You are correct. I don't "know" that it's ADD/ADHD, but there is something going on there that has all the classic symptoms. My main concern is, as stated above, I want this child to get an education. I was told that at his last school the teacher stuck him in the back of the room and just let him scribble. I know we are not magicians, and I may be naive, but I refuse to just ignore him. I do speak with him about what's happening, why he's not paying attention, is he getting enough sleep, etc... he says he's always tired even though he says he goes to bed at 7, and he has no idea why he can't pay attention. I haven't asked him about his obsessive behaviors of touching, blowing on people, blurting, staring for long periods of time, etc... His mom is coming in to meet with me in the morning and is thrilled that I want to keep her informed. I'm hoping to develop a close relationship with her so that we can do what's best for the student. And, of course I know not to say or even hint at ADHD or anything of the sort. I just want to let her know what I see in class and compare that to what he's like at home. I know to tread lightly. I want what's best for her son, just as she does. I'm looking forward to speaking with her.
     
  13. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Sep 16, 2011

    Sorry, I forgot to address everyone else's comments. Thank you all so much for replying. It can be so stressful when we only want the best for our kids but feel stretched unbelievably thin with the lack of resources.
    I'm heading to the library or bookstore this weekend to find books on tips for teaching kids with learning disabilities in a general ed classroom. Earlier this week I found myself stressed out and getting upset with my student when it's not his fault. I'm just a novice on how to properly teach him and meet his needs.

    Anyone have any great book recommendations??? :)
     
  14. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 16, 2011

    Don't mention any specific diagnoses or things like that, as the parents could take that and run with it, since school personnel cannot diagnose, unless they are a doctor, of course.

    A student can have attention issues without ADHD.

    A student can have ADHD without being medicated. (I have ADHD and I have never been on medication, despite it being rather severe when I was young. My neurologist didn't want to risk anything by even trying out ADHD medication)
     
  15. MrShiva

    MrShiva Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2011

    He must be evaluate by some professionals, and will be create an IEP, it's so hard to teach children with ADHD/ADD if you don't know what they need to learn.
     
  16. Rosy0114

    Rosy0114 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2011

    @ teacher girl - I love your suggestions!

    I have a few ideas -
    1. You need a place where the child can stand at a counter or table and pay attention to you standing up.

    2. Get a time timer. (http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/se...e/ShopByCategory/teacherresources/viewall.jsp) This involves a lot of teaching and would work best with help from a para, counselor, sp ed teacher, etc. to set up. The student will have 15 minutes on-task and have the time timer to show how much time he needs to work. Then the student would have a 10 minute break in a "center" or somewhere away from his desk to play quietly. After this works out well - usually a couple weeks - it's 15 minutes on-task and a 5 minute time away. When the 15 minutes on-task is mastered - it's 20 minutes on and 5 minutes off. Eventually you will be able to stop the timer if the student stops working... So he has to complete 15 minutes of work no matter how long it actually takes before he can get his break. When I've used this technique, breaks phase themselves out to the student working diligently and asking for his own breaks. They become infrequent and minimal. I'm expecting since your student is younger, it will be a little bit longer process than with my older students.

    3. A Seating wedge or cushion on his chair. Make sure the object you choose is multi-sensory with one texture on side A and a different texture on side B. Also make sure the object can have enough air the child can bounce a bit while sitting in his seat. This kind of stimulation may be enough sensory input that he can pay attention - at least for your short instances before you provide a break. http://www.flaghouse.com/Giant-Leaps/Seating/Sitting-On-Air-PN=1&navlink=true
     

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