View Full Version : How Schools Can Help

12-22-05, 09:57 PM
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When a child with ADHD reaches school age there are a number of issues which need to be taken into consideration so that they are allowed to reach their full potential. These children need to have a lot of structure and routine, placing them in a class that is constantly having to use supply teachers it not very helpful as they will not be able to cope with the constant change to their routine. They also need to be able to learn in the method they can understand the best, they are very tactile learners so a lot of hands on learning is far better than sitting in front of the blackboard copying or being told lots of facts and figures and expecting them to be able to write them down for themselves and remembering them.

In the US these children are protected under the IDEA Act and Section 504. Please see the Wrightslaw website by Pete and Pam Wright for more information on education in the USA. In England these children may be entitled to special provision under the Education Code of Practice, this will involve an assessment for Special Needs by approaching the Local Authority for a Statement of Need. Contact your local Support Group or Special Needs advisor for further details. In Scotland things are slightly different again and a good resource for information is

The following are 10 very basic points which schools can easily implement to help children with ADHD:

l. The ADD child needs to be placed to work alongside those of similar abilities, not only educationally/academically, but maturity levels also. The ADD/ADHD child is more likely to be immature compared to his peers. A graded system of class structure would suit better than open plan, parallel streamed or composite, as they find it hard to cope with changes in levels of work.

2. A firm but fair structure is essential for daily activities and routine should be strictly adhered to. This enables the child to know what is expected of them, knowing that their work is closely monitored. Sufferers generally respond well to the three "R"'s, Routine, Regularity and Repetition. They quite often have very low self esteem and therefore tend to be a "loner", frequently isolated and at the risk of victimisation by others. Alternatively they can be aggressive with their peers and need careful monitoring to ensure these times are kept to a minimum. Distraction onto another completely different task in this situation is normally the best way to handle this. Their lack of ability in coping with change used in a positive way, to help them out of a potentially difficult situation i.e. they're so busy trying to come to terms with a new task they forget about any battle they might have started. This tactic often works to overcome many potential problems that might arise.

3. The teacher must be firmly in control of the class, whilst being a sympathetic and warm person. ADD/ADHD children generally are very emotional and loving. They respond well to praise and individual attention. Praise should be little and often rather than one pat on the back at the end of the day. Negative attitudes can be very harmful, particularly to a child with already low self esteem. Where possible try and maintain the same teacher/s throughout the year. Eye contact needs to be established when giving instructions. Break these instructions down and deliver them in small segments, giving the next segment when the previous one has been completed. Get the child to repeat each segment back to you, to make sure they know what is expected.

4. It would be useful if the system allowed children to repeat years if needed. This would allow the child to interact with others of similar abilities and not have to constantly compete with their own peer group.

5. Small class size is beneficial for these children as they offer less distraction, allowing them a better opportunity to build relationships with their peers and the teacher. Sit them at the front of the class or facing a wall . This helps to cut down on distractions.

6. Remedial facilities are an added bonus, not only for those with learning difficulties but also those gifted children with ADD/ADHD who need help to channel their intelligence. Speech therapy and Occupational therapy would be beneficial within the school environment for those who require it.

7. Medication is part of every day life for many ADD/ADHD sufferers. Teachers must assist in making sure this medication is taken. This MUST be done quietly and sensitively. We heard recently of a teacher announcing to the whole class that it was "time for X's mental pill". There is no difference between a child taking medication for ADD/ADHD, and a child requiring medication for diabetes, epilepsy, asthma or any other long term condition.

8. A variety of choices is generally beneficial at senior school. Many of these children achieve their best doing manual tasks rather than verbal. By achieving in manual subjects, their self esteem is being built up, enabling time for their nervous system to mature. As a child enters senior school they are often confused by the constant change of teacher and room. Help to assist in coping with this is essential. This may take the form of a classroom assistant who remains constant, moving from class to class with the child.

9. The lack of organisation, planning skills and ability to assess what is important and what isn't, puts the ADD/ADHD child at a disadvantage in an exam situation. The best form of assessment for these children is continuous assessment of coursework, followed by shorter exams.

10. Learn to enjoy these children, they have a lot of hidden talent and a lot to give.

by Caroline Hensby of Thanet ADDers.


12-22-05, 10:23 PM
For an English school teacher...that's pretty good. ;)