Children who have ADHD often can’t follow behavior rules in the manner in which they are set out for other children. By understanding what ADHD children struggle with and how they are best motivated, you can create a method that will better work for them in the classroom.
Have immediate repercussions and rewards.
Ideally, you want to have an established method in place for what these repercussions and rewards should be. They should be given right after the action is completed, because delayed praise and discipline often doesn’t work for children with ADHD.
Use secret reminders.
So as not to frequently call out your student in class for misbehaving, you can have reminders in place that only you and the student understand. This can include tapping the desk or taping initials on the desk that stand for an action, such as “N.I.” for “no interrupting.”
Reward appropriate behavior.
Students with ADHD often get reprimanded frequently, which can hurt their self-esteem and sometimes prompt them to act out more often. It’s important to reward your student for good behavior, even if this behavior may seem like common sense.
Write the schedule on the board.
Write the daily schedule on the board, and then erase each item as it’s completed. This helps give the student a sense of tangible progress and lets him or her know what to expect next.
Give your student special tasks.
Since students with ADHD have a lot of extra energy, it can be helpful to give them tasks that will make them feel important and allow them to move around the classroom. For example, you can make your student responsible for collecting other students’ papers and handing them to the teacher.
Give warnings before the time is up.
When an activity is ending, give the class warnings ahead of time. For example, you can alert the class when there is five minutes left, two minutes left, and then one minute left. This helps your student prepare for the transition.
Focus more on what the student should do than on what he shouldn’t do.
Try to keep guidelines positive. For instance, instead of saying, “Don’t speak without raising your hand,” you can say, “Speak after raising your hand.” Keep these expectations in a visible location for all students. This will help your student feel part of the community instead of singled out.
Show, don’t tell.
Students with ADHD often need to be shown what is expected of them, instead of just being told. If a student is supposed to read a story and then answer the questions at the bottom, hold out the story, and point out the questions. Alternatively, you may want to first tell your students to read the story, and then ask them to fill out the questions, as this will help your ADHD student remember each task.
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