ADHD in the classroom, maintaining order while providing a flexible learning environment for all.

Reach for the Top 9As many of us reading this post are aware, kids with ADHD can sometimes act without thinking, can be hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what’s expected of them but have trouble following through because they have difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or attending to details. (source kidshealth.org)

As an experienced educator working with young children for over a decade, I understand that most of the time disruptive behavior is not intentional. Never the less , it can be very distracting to the classroom learning environment. One solution would be to teach in a physically active and stimulating environment at all times. However, in addition to burning myself out doing this on a daily basis (don’t get me wrong, I would if it was the only option for the success of my students!) we also know that all students do not learn in the same way and some children require more “down-time” so they themselves do not suffer form the same ” burn-out”. Therefore, in our regular classroom where several students needs are to be met, this constant “up and moving” classroom is not feasible.

Listed below are some solutions to minimize disruption in the classroom and allow children who have ADHD and other children to have an outlet without forcing the entire classroom to partake at once.

Solutions in the Classroom

The number one thing teachers can do to help ADHD students squirm and fidget less is to provide physical outlets that let them regularly release pent-up energy and improve focus.

1)Send students with ADHD on errands. Ask your ADHD students to deliver a message to another class or take a note to the office. These tasks help kids build a sense of self-worth while providing an opportunity to stretch their legs and move around.

2)Let students stand and walk around between lessons. One teacher, for example, put a mini-trampoline in her classroom for kids who got restless. In the beginning of the school year, everyone used it frequently; but after the novelty wore off, only the ADHD students who needed to use it continued to do so. Another teacher let students use exercise balls instead of chairs so ADHD students could move around a bit, but still stay seated.

3)Provide fidget objects. These object can include worry beads, Wikki Stix, and squeeze balls—anything that can be quietly squished or handled. Not having to focus on staying absolutely still conserves the student’s energy for focusing on class lessons.
(Tip: Attach squeeze balls to the desk, so they don’t get hurled across the room!)

4)Keep lessons short and provide frequent breaks. You can even do this during tests if you sense that a student needs to move.

Does anyone have other methods, tips and tricks they have used?

In my next post I will discuss the topic of discipline for a child with ADHD from a teachers standpoint.

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