Tag Archives: focus

Working with ADHD Students

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Chances are, you have at least one student in your class who has been diagnosed (or would be) with ADHD.  Cassie was kind enough to share her notes from a seminar she went to as part of the 2013 Central Texas Afterschool Network (CTAN):

Students with ADHD can be: inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive.

Here are 10 reasons why students with ADHD misbehave:

  1. Frustration
  2. Lack of Structure
  3. They don’t know how to ask for what they want/need
  4. Too many distractions
  5. Feel misunderstood
  6. Hunger
  7. Feel overwhelmed
  8. Feel criticized
  9. Feel like a “victim”
  10. Feel like they are “bad”

Some ideas for working with ADHD students:

  • Feelings Wheel: visualization that helps students share their current feelings
  • Turtle Technique:  students may go “inside their shells” for 1 minute, reflect, then answer or rejoin the activity
  • Consistency: talk to their daytime teachers, special ed teachers, and/or parents to see what tools or routines they find effective with the individual student
  • Medication: though we are unable to administer medication, we can be mindful of what the student’s medication schedule is in order to better predict and understand their moods
  • Timer: help students to focus for shorter durations of time that may feel more manageable or predictable
  • Cool Down Box: create a space where students can calm their mind with non-disruptive objects (lego pieces or preferred objects for specific students) or activities (physical, writing, drawing activities)
  • Mentoring: share ways in which you focus your attention, be patient, help the student form social bridges with other students, and look for teachable moments
  • Meditation/Reflection: studies show that simple breath awareness or mindfulness practice can improve the mind’s ability to focus
  • Visualizations: use an agenda or other visualizations to encourage focus and understanding.  Visual Strategies can cue or teach positive behavior, support both receptive and expressive communication, enhance memory, portray expectations, teach routines.  Some examples include:

First/Then board

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Problem-Solving Cards

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or a Picture Schedule.

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Foolproof guide to creating a Picture Schedule:

  1. Gather materials such as scissors, glue, poster board, clear contact paper, Velcro, pictures
  2. Choose pictures for the schedule you wish to create.  Keep in mind that a visual schedule helps children anticipate transitions and activities.
  3. Cut your pictures, mount them with glue on poster board or a manila folder cut to the same size for durability.  Keep in mind the child’s development level.
  4. Laminate or cover the pictures with clear contact paper.
  5. Put a small piece of Velcro on the back center of each picture.  Use the same type of Velcro of the back of the pictures and the opposite type for the schedule board.
  6. Create a strip/board to hold the pics using poster or science fair board.  Make it long enough to hold pictures for several activities.  Put a Velcro strip across or down the center.  If needed add a pocket at the end that represents “finished” or “all done”.  Otherwise pictures can be turned over to indicate “all done”.
  7. Velcro the pictures tot the schedule in the order activities occur.  Depending on the child, use only a few pics at a time.
  8. Show the schedule to the child.  Orient the child to the schedule and model by hand-over-hand, touching, or pulling off the pictures.  Remove pics with the chidl at the end of the activity and place in pocket or turn them over.
  9. Use the schedule! Keep the schedule near the child and at eye level.  Use the schedule as part of the class routine.  Praise child for following the schedule appropriately. enough