Realistic modifications for ADHD

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Backroads, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2017

    So... Kiddo in question has ADHD. He has recently been put on medications--too soon to tell how this will impact him. An IEP is not yet in place as his folks didn't want that label, but it looks like we will be heading in that direction.

    We are brainstorming some possible classroom modifications on top of the accomodations we already have.

    One thing in particular that we're having trouble figuring out is amount of classwork. We have tried breaking it up to no avail. I know a possible modification is to reduce the amount of work the student does, but I wonder if that will just work against Kiddo. I guess I believe that many types of learning require practice and repetition. He is beginning to fall behind in math for the simple reason that he is unable to do enough practice to master the concepts.

    Any strategies for limiting math time where he won't be falling behind?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    One thing I've seen before is the opportunity to redo work when it was apparent the ADHD interfered with the mastery. The student still had to do the whole assignment, but if it was an off day and I could tell he wasn't focused, he got to redo it. Could you try giving him times breaks during the work period?
     
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  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Feb 27, 2017

    It's very good news that the family is trying medication. I saw the thread title and immediately thought, "The only thing I've ever seen truly work is medication." Make sure to have open communication with the family about how the medication is working; sometimes different doses/types of meds are necessary and sometimes the dose needs to be adjusted even after it was initially working. Every single one of my kiddos (and I've had MANY with ADHD) have been extremely successful after getting on the right medication. In fact, for the past several years I have had 2-3 kids per year that have been misidentified as learning disabled because their academic data/test scores are so low after years of untreated ADHD. When parents finally agree to meds, within the year the "learning disability" is completely gone and they're on grade level.

    I'm sure you've already thought of most or all of these, but these are typically other things we recommend:
    -Frequent "heavy work" breaks, such as taking a stack of textbooks to another teacher.
    -Allowing the student to stand in an allotted space (obviously in the back of the room or off to the side) during instruction.
    -Wiggle seat/using an exercise ball as a chair/wrapping a cord around the bottom of the student's chair so he can work his feet against it when he needs to move
    -Written agenda of what needs to be done for an assignment (if the student is a decent reader) or picture agenda (if he can't read a written one), have him check off items once they're finished. Attach some type of point system to this if he really needs motivation.
    - Rather than reducing the number of problems, break the work into chunks but expect him to still do the same amount of work. I'm not sure what age this is; that would impact how you go about this. For young kids, we usually cover up part of the paper with a "magic shield" (construction paper) and tell them to only focus on the uncovered part. For older students, you can try cutting the paper in half, check in with the student and give a break if necessary, and then complete the other half. If even that's too much at once, try circling numbers 1 and 2 and saying, "Try these and then I'll check back with you."
    -Again, this depends on the age of the student. For some young kids we will take a picture of what a "learning body" looks like and put it on their desk. This is usually attached to some type of point sheet where the teacher checks in after each subject and the student gets points. For ADHD we usually focus on two things for point sheets: "I can show a learning body" and "I can do my work."
    -Have the student be "the helper" as much as possible- passing out papers or supplies, helping you hold things up for the class to see, etc. This will get him up and moving while still being purposefully engaged in the lesson.
     
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  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2017

    I actually fear he may have too many breaks. He has fidgit options, seating options, tons of breaks... and right now is expected to work no more than a minute at once. I feel at the end of the day he is lacking the total time necessary to really practice anything.
     
  6. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Feb 28, 2017

    What if you start to increase time in between breaks now that he is trying medication? Run it by the parents first, but the medication should hopefully help him focus - so he can use less breaks.
     
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  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 28, 2017

    Great suggestions by other folks. I'd hold off on brainstorming more significant interventions until you see how behavior changes with medication.
     
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  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Feb 28, 2017

    If you haven't looked into Daily 5, it might present some guidelines for building stamina. I have used the concepts in SPED and with ESL. Just a thought.
     
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  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    These are some of the accommodations I've seen on IEPS for some of our ADHD students:
    - reduce length of assignment (for example student answer every 3rd question on a worksheet.
    give extended time for assignments
    - reduce the number of questions on assessments. For example a student can show he can do additions by completing 5 problems, instead of 10.
    - preferential seating, or distraction free seating (front, or away from other students)
    - frequent breaks during assessments or in class
    - verbal and non-verbal cueing of student to stay on task
     
  10. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2017

    I have AD/HD myself so I work well with these students. The main thing they need is help staying organized. They need to figure out their own solutions to this b/c other people's tricks don't work for them but you can have them "check in" frequently and keep an assignment sheet.

    I would not shorten the amount of work he has to do--it will just enable him and give him an excuse to use when things get hard. He can probably do the work--may take longer but he can do it.

    As for the math--what has probably happened is that the young man has holes in his knowledge. By this I mean that he doesn't completely have his prerequisites in place. Maybe the day they talked about slope intercept equations in algebra, he was out to lunch that day and now every time the word slope intercept comes up he has no idea what you're talking about and even the concept of *intercept* is a mystery. Ask me how I know. . . . For this it would be best to watch closely and see where mistakes are frequently made and then clear those up with a khan academy video and some extra practice. Giving him fewer problems to do would do nothing to fix this problem.

    Instant things the parents can do to help: limit soda and sweets, increase exercise, give B-vitamins, Omega-3 fish oil supps, esp those with high DHA, and magnesium. Fruit seems to help the ADHD brain esp well. I can tell which days I forgot my fish oil and if I begin to drift off my diet it soon becomes evident. Sweets are the worst and there is nothing a kid with ADHD craves more! I realize there is only so much you can do here, but when parents ask me for suggestions, this is what I tell them.
     
  11. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2017

    Oh yes and bouncing off what waterfall said about covering the part of the work he's not currently working on--I give out what I call "mini-math" worksheets. I cut one piece of paper into 4 and put just one math problem on a page and tell them one point per page--they will sometimes fall all over each other to do more problems! It's a hoot.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2017

    In my third grade class, I don't often expect everyone to complete the same amount of practice problems. Some will complete 10, some 6, some 4, and some only 2. They work for the same amount of time, but that doesn't mean that they have to complete the same amount of practice work. To me, it's about the quality of the work and the learning experience, not about the quantity of work.

    To answer your question, though, building strong relationships with those students, frequent check-ins, fidget options, and brief breaks have been successful for me... I mean, the medication usually helps, too, but that's out of my control.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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