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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thinking Positively: How Some Characteristics of ADHD Can be Adaptive and Accepted in the Classroom

Are ADHD kids annoying? This is a question that I ask in my seminars. Depending on the course and the teacher comments range from "oh yea" , "Sometimes", "Not Really" I then tell my participants that what ever they think they are they are" Our intervention is typically guided by our perception of the child or student. How can behaviours that are displayed by some of our ADHD kids be accepted in the classroom?
Sherman, Rasmussen and Baydala note that children who are ADHD respond to salient or novel stimuli and become easily distracted. Thus attention problems result in decreasing ability to attend to tasks that require sustained attention.
Some strategies that may help children read and write
  • paraphrasing
  • limiting distractions
  • scanning for headings
  • graphic organizers - flow charts, models of written work, and aiding in self-editing
The authors found that strategies helpful for ADHD students are beneficial for all students.

Thinking differently can change how we intervene with our ADHD children. Rather than always telling them to "Be quiet" "Sit down" Use these as their strengths not their deficits. If the child is always talking rather than tell them to stop actually tell them you love how good they are at communicating. Use the problem solving technique and let them know your concerns."I like it when you talk but when you are talking and when I am talking no one else can hear us. What can we do to make sure that only one person speaks at a time?"
Give them the responsiblity to solve the problem rather than trying to coerce them to stop and risk escalation.
Sherman, Rasmussen and Baydala note that children who are exceptional with music, art, sport exhibit those behaviours that have been labeled negative or non-compliant. For instance energetic, impulsive, creative, impatient, distractable are labels used in a negative manner but when examined using a positive mind set they take on a whole different meaning.
Do academic acheivements define who our children are? Are there characteristics that are beneficial in other environments but not applicable to school? Does this make children failures? Maybe it is the system that is failing these children not the children failing within the system!

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One of the biggest issues that I hear about from teachers and caregivers is the behaviour of the children or youth in their school, program ...