According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” These kids have trouble functioning as everyone else does in a typical classroom setting. Children who are managing ADHD behaviors tend to be disciplined more often because their extra energy can make them more active, impulsive, and distracted. These children are not trying to be defiant, and they need accommodations in the classroom to make it not so overwhelming to them.
What can teachers do to make the classroom environment easier for children with ADHD?
- Allow children to utilize fidget toys to help them utilize extra energy.
- Give them seating preference. Maybe sitting in the front makes them focus better, maybe sitting in the back provides less distractions.
- Tie a band around the bottom of their chair to allow them to fidget with their legs.
- Allow them to walk around during breaks or transitions between lessons.
- Allow them to tape a piece of paper onto their desk to doodle on.
- Write down activities so that they can see what is expected of them.
- Provide healthy snacks instead of sugary ones to help.
- Repeat instructions as needed, or write them down on a check list.
- Utilize behavior charts in the classroom.
- Make accommodations to the way they take tests to help them best succeed.
Even children without ADHD can benefit from some of these changes to the classroom, as many different factors can make children impulsive, distracted, and hyperactive. Children who want to try some of these interventions out, should be allowed to do so, but if they are causing them lose focus, it should be discussed why that intervention may not work for them.
Here are some helpful links to learn more about ADHD and managing it in the classroom:
Here are a few videos with some additional information: