View Full Version : About to begin tutoring ADHD student for the first time. Need advice.


RockyZ
04-21-08, 01:30 PM
Hi, I'm new to this forum but it seems like a place with a lot of knowledgeable individuals who I could lean on for support in hopes of doing something good for someone who needs it. I am about to begin tutoring a 3rd grader with ADHD as a representative of the big brothers, big sisters foundation. From what I hear he is a wonderful kid who is having MAJOR academic difficulties. He had to repeat kindergarden, and he is currently struggling mightily in school. I have never tutored anyone before, and certainly not someone who will present a challenge as big as this one may. My first day tutoring will begin next week. The curriculum is broad and I am not sure where to start. I would like to ask the members of the forum who have experience teaching students with ADHD what they would do if they were going into my situation. I hope that with a little insight from you I might really be able to help this kid, so please let me know your thoughts on the issue.

sputnik
04-21-08, 02:32 PM
I don't have experience teaching kids with ADD, but I do have a lot of experience teaching myself, while having ADD. I never paid attention in class and I never made my homework, but I somehow managed to educate myself. A few tricks:
- ADD'ers perform better while under pressure or when they are enjoying what they're doing, or when they are very interested in the subject at hand. This knowledge can help you improve his education process. Build in competitive elements or game-like scenarios with lots of challenges. And break up big deadlines into little ones, major assignments into smaller tasks. Try to tap into his ability to hyperfocus when doing things that interest him.
- Be flexible. When I'm doing the dishes and start to get into a cleaning spree that can last for 2 hours, I allow myself to be carried away. Next time, I really should do the dishes but I find myself suddenly capable of studying. It's OK, that's how your brain works, make use of the moments you're doing useful work.
- Just help getting started. I procrastinate a lot, but once I start doing something I often find myself keeping at it for an extended period of time. As a tutor, just helping someone to get started can be very helpful.
- Make sure things get finished. Even if I spend a considerable amount of time on a project, I have difficulties finishing them. Make sure things get finished.

Good luck!

lotsofconfusion
04-25-08, 02:07 AM
excellently worded sputnik, i couldn't have said it better myself!

aloha1983
04-28-08, 11:33 AM
Hi there! I'm an ADDer and a teacher/tutor myself.

Firstly, you won't have behaviour issues as tutoring is one on one. It's unlikely this will present problems, although he may occasionally want to stretch/ go to the bathroom every half hour to an hour to give his brain a rest.

Make sure, and this is very important, that you get an outline of his assessment for the term/semester. The main thing with ADDers is we sometimes forget books or deadlines... just ask him to bring his whole school bag with him, and for his mum/dad to keep track of assignments too. Always start them early so you can do multiple drafts and get feedback.

Make the activities as interactive as possible. Make him give you the answers rather than you telling them to him. Constantly check for knowledge, that he is getting what you are teaching him. Make it fun.

Try to connect the curriculum to things he is interested in as well. For example, I surf skate and wakeboard and a lot of my kids do too. So I'm happy if they do their English assignments around these kind of things if it suits the criteria.

Good luck and PM me if you need any further help!

RockyZ
04-28-08, 05:30 PM
well, today was my first day with the boy. It's clear that helping him is going to be a big challenge. He comes from a very tough neighborhood and I cannot really relate with that part as much. Also he seems shy and soft-spoken, but I'm sure he will come out of his shell as he comes to trust me.

One thing I would love a teachers perspective on is lying. He tells me that his mom has a lamborghini and that he has a verizon iphone (impossible, he was making it up on the spot.) Why would he do this? to impress me? How can i get my new pupil to know not to lie to me?

Also, he has trouble in all areas, but particularly in multiplication on the math side and reading comp on the language arts side. Any tips on how to improve a childs reading comp?

Thanks for your insights folks, I hope you know how much this means to everyone involved.

Scattershot
04-28-08, 05:37 PM
I'm not a teacher, but here's a really informative reading site I've found: http://www.readingrockets.org/helping/target

They have a ton of articles geared toward teachers, so you might be able to find some good tips in there.

And it sounds like the lying might be a trust issue, especially if the kid comes from a rough neighborhood. You might not want to push him too hard on it until you get to know him better. A lot of kids like that will start to open up on their own once they realize they can trust you.

aloha1983
04-30-08, 12:28 AM
For the reading comp maybe get him to take notes or restate what he has learnt back to you to check for understanding?

The lying is a trust issue, so don't push it. He's just trying to impress you.

ADDAWAY
04-30-08, 01:49 AM
or to see how you react to the wild side!

RockyZ, try the Teacher's Corner here on ADDF too. For example:
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24236

Imnapl
05-11-08, 10:26 AM
well, today was my first day with the boy. It's clear that helping him is going to be a big challenge. He comes from a very tough neighborhood and I cannot really relate with that part as much. Also he seems shy and soft-spoken, but I'm sure he will come out of his shell as he comes to trust me.

One thing I would love a teachers perspective on is lying. He tells me that his mom has a lamborghini and that he has a verizon iphone (impossible, he was making it up on the spot.) Why would he do this? to impress me? How can i get my new pupil to know not to lie to me?

Lamborghini? Iphone? Kids will exaggerate material possessions because of low self-esteem. Kids with FASD will make up stories.

RockyZ, are you volunteering as a tutor?

juniebjones
05-16-08, 03:08 AM
For the reading comp, I would first find a topic he's interested in (asking questions like what mvoies do you like? What do you like to do? What was the last book you read that you liked?)

Then I would figure out where his independent and instructional reading levels are-- that is, at what grade level can he read without assistance, what grade level can he read with your support, and what is simply too hard (frustration level). Start off as low as you can so he can gain confidence and experience success. If you start off too hard, he might shut down. Then give him time and materials at his independent level to practice
reading... Read instructional materials with him during tutoring.

Some strategies to get him "hooked":

Book talks: Introduce the story line to him and lead him to a moment that makes him want to know more (think Reading Rainbows)

Projects that involve getting into the story: Having him draw pictures of a setting, asking him questions about characters as he reads (what do you think about Tom Sawyer's decision to trick someone else into painting the fence? What would you have done?), having him make connections...

Set a purpose for reading (write it down before you begin)

Model for him with a read-aloud: show him the thought processes of an experieced reader (monitoring comprehension, asking yourself questions, using context clues)

Scanning the text: this is great for textbook reading (but you could practice with a
pcitue book or a book with picutres in it... or even a magazine). Have him look at the pictures and headings, and write down predictions before he reads (or you can write them for him to speed things up). Then, as you read the story, check the predictions with what actually happens in the story.

The truth is, most reading comp assessments are tricky, so you may also want to teach him how to answer reading comp questions like he will encounter at school and on those God-forsaken standardized tests. You can find some onlne or you can invent your own to go with what he's reading, but he needs to get used to looking back into the text to support his answers. You can model this as you read
together. For example, if he says that Tom Sawyer is lazy, ask him what makes him think so... Get him to point to the words in the text.


I hope some of this is helpful to you. Bottom line? Practice with materials that are accessible to him is the best way to help him in reading. At his age, the best thing you can do for him is to make reading fun... If he begins to like it, he'll start doing it on his own.

Good luck to you!! We need more conscientious educators like you in the field.

reesah
05-16-08, 04:59 AM
on the lying- you say you can't relate to his being from a tough neighborhood. he probably already knows that [it's easy to pick up on that kind of stuff, even for kids], and he is trying to relate to YOU. just a thought.

goughy
05-16-08, 05:27 AM
Some hints from experience and from a therapist who diagnosed me. Maybe try a stress ball or something, and let him squeeze it while working. Also, I have trouble focusing while on the phone. But when I walk around the place it gets much easier to follow the conversation.

My therapist also said he once had a workmate he thought had adhd and had similar problems. He'd take him out for a walk around the block when he needed to discuss something and found that his retention was much better.


The secret is tinking outside the box. Maybe something that would be a distraction for someone else is a focusing tool for us!