Attention Deficit Disorder and / or Hyperactivity Disorder affects various areas of a child's life, such as the social, emotional, family and educational areas. In the educational area, this disorder not only affects the behavior or conduct of the child in the classroom, but also the child's own learning process. When we board ADHD in the classroom, we have to pay special attention to the learning difficulties that children can present and how to deal with them. Therefore, below we propose some very practical tips for the daily educational care of children with ADHD.
Although not all children with ADHD have a learning disorder, the vast majority of them, as a result of inattention, impulsivity, and restlessness, perform below expectations in reading, writing, or mathematics for their age and school year. Therefore, acting in the classroom with these children, it should not be limited to the behavioral field and their learning difficulties must be taken into account, and give them an appropriate answer.
Usually the performance of these children in the classroom does not correspond to their abilities, and it is not uncommon for them to face situations of school failure. Here several factors tend to come together, not just the learning difficulties that they can present. They are children who tend to have low expectations regarding their school performance ('I try hard, but it's no use', 'I always fail'), low self-esteem ('I'm stupid'), and eventually, over time, if I don't know treated appropriately in the educational field, they end up 'throwing in the towel'.
Actions with these children in the classroom are essential not only to achieve educational success, (meaning educational success is quality learning, meaningful for them, constructive and for life), but also for adequate emotional, social and personal development.
We usually talk about guidelines such as sitting them in the front row, explaining the rules in detail, giving them small reminders, supervising their work, motivating them and positively reinforcing them ... But there are a series of methodological guidelines that we can take into account with these children in the classroom (many of they are regulated by the educational laws of each region or community). These are adjustments that do not affect the objectives or the contents to be studied but that help these children in their school day.
These are some of them:
At work in class
- It must be taken into account that If it is difficult for you to attend, it is not because you do not want to, but because you cannot. We must be aware that while you are doing a task it will be difficult for you to attend to other guidelines or explanations that are being given. For example, if you are copying homework from the blackboard, you will not be paying attention to other explanations given by the teacher in the classroom, so it would be recommended that the guidelines for carrying out the tasks and assignments in the classroom be given to you on a sheet of paper. or they are written on the board, so that they can be handy and can be called upon when needed.
- Must also make sure that you have 'attended' the explanation or to the order that has been given. Many times they agree when we ask them 'Do you know what to do?' They say yes, but we have to go a little further. You have to make sure that this is indeed the case, so it would be advisable to ask them to explain what to do, to make sure that you have listened and taken care of.
In the exams
- In exams, it is easy for these children to leave exercises unfinished or incomplete (due to difficulties in focusing attention, impulsivity and because they tire easily), especially when it comes to exercises in which they are asked several things (read, underline, mark, circle and write ...), so we can mark in bold the keywords of the statement or divide the sentences into parts. We can also expand the exam space, instead of all the questions on one page, design the exam so that there are only two questions on each page.
- We can adapt question modeA: ask oral questions, offer visual aids, propose other options such as matching exercises with arrows, for example.
- Offer more time to take the exam(usually 30% more time). It is even more advisable to divide it into two sessions, since if what we do is add minutes to the exam time in the same session, fatigue can make that extra time useless. Therefore, it is not so much about extending the exam time but about dividing it and doing it in two different sessions.
- It is about the student with ADHD showing what they know by adjusting the type of questions, and the time, but not the content to be evaluated.
As we can see, intervention with these children is not limited to specialized work at the individual level, but coordinated work with the family and especially with teachers is key to minimizing the negative 'consequences' of this disorder.
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