A classroom that includes students diagnosed with ADHD needs to include effective intervention strategies. According to the American Psychiatric Association, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by pervasive and developmentally inappropriate difficulties with attention, impulsivity, and hyper activity.
These students frequently have difficulties following classroom rules and can show aggression, they are also more likely to be rejected socially and have more difficulty getting along with other students. School-based services are usually needed as well as placement in a special education class.
The implementation of behavioral strategies combined with the use of psychotropic medications can help achieve a favorable outcome and a greater chance of success. Children with ADHD have different behaviors that can prevent them from learning and those behaviors can range from being mildly disruptive to almost making it impossible for academic and social success.
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A variety of behavioral strategies can be implemented to accommodate each child's needs. These strategies should include some clear, simple expectations or rules that outline expected behaviors for all students. These rules should be posted and reviewed frequently as well as recognized and praised when they are being followed.
When all students understand the expectations, they have a goal they can work towards. For some students having additional prompts can help them to maintain self control and achieve these goals. Academic tasks can seem overwhelming for some students and there are some ways to help these students complete their school work. One effective strategy is modifying the size of a task, breaking it into smaller assignments can help them achieve success.
Gradually increasing the level of difficulty, and the time spent working on an academic activity might help some students learn self regulation. When they can complete a task they should be praised or rewarded. I currently work in a classroom where there are modifications made for several students depending on the subject being taught.
One student becomes overwhelmed by math lessons and feels defeated before he even begins. His behavior reflects this when he becomes disruptive and refuses to even try. Several strategies have been implemented to help him and are currently being used with success. Presenting the work in smaller assignments has helped him feel less overwhelmed.
First I make sure he understands the task and what the total assignment is, then it is broken into sections for him to choose from. By choosing the section he feels most comfortable to begin with helps promote a positive attitude toward the overall task. Combining this with positive reinforcement and praise for staying on task and not disrupting others has been successful and this student's average grade has increased by 10% since the beginning of the school year.
Reinforcement based strategies like a reward system can be a very helpful tool as a whole class strategy. The desired behavior and expectations need to be outlined as well as what the reward will be. These expectations need to be individual and realistic so that the student can see progress toward the goal.
This strategy can be successful when used regularly and followed through. This is a strategy that I currently work with and it brings positive results. I work in a seventh grade ASD classroom where there are clear classroom goals as well as individual goals. The students earn "checks" for short term rewards like 15 minutes of IPad use or art time as well as a larger goal of "Friday Fun" which is a free period of social interaction with classmates where they can choose a game or activity to play for an entire period.
The goals are individualized and can be increased as the student's ability grows. Having a long term goal also gives a student room to adjust their behavior and make up for times when behavior needed to be corrected. Not every student earns this reward all the time, but the teacher helps the students understand where they need improvement and how together they can work to achieve their goal for the next week.
Both articles discuss the importance of the partnership between parents, teachers, and counselors. All parties should have a good understanding of the strategies used at home and in school. These strategies are the most successful when they are followed through by all. Open communication is very important and allows for an easier transition from school to home and home to school.
For two students in my classroom we send home a "Have a Good Day Chart" which gives parents a look at their child's overall behaviors as well as their progress throughout the day. This helps us to see what time of day may be more challenging or if a particular subject causes unwanted behaviors.
If the student is on medication it can track the time of day behaviors are occurring and can help when parents speak with their child's doctor. Intervention services are essential to helping a student succeed. These providers evaluate from a different perspective and can offer additional strategies for parents and teachers The way to achieve the best outcome is for all caregivers to develop a plan that includes strategies that are both proactive and reactive.
Encouraging the desirable behaviors and addressing undesirable actions help to teach self regulation. Tracking and recording data show growth and improvements. This helps everyone identify the strategies that work and where changes are needed as the child grows. These strategies should be reviewed and discussed by everyone implementing them.
This is especially important for children in middle school or high school where there are multiple teachers working with the students each day. Consistent and clear guidelines can help students with ADHD be successful and reach their full potential.
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