Strategiesfor Teaching Students with ADHDKatieGarveySamfordUniversity Abstract:Theliterature review focuses on the different strategies teachers can implement inthe elementary classroom in order to improve ADHD students’ behavioral,academic, and organizational skills. ADHD students tend to have behavioralproblems in the classroom due to the inability to stay attentive throughout theentire school day. The literature review focuses on two behavioral strategies: creatingpositive teacher-student relationships and implementing the token economysystem in the classroom. Not only do ADHD students struggle with behavior skills,but ADHD students also struggle with academic skills as well.
The literaturereview discusses three academic strategies: task instructional modifications,peer-parent tutoring, and physical activity. Lastly, ADHD students lackorganization skills which effects their overall academic experience. Theliterature review talks about the HOPS intervention and how HOPS has beenproven to help ADHD students improve on organizational skills. Teachers areable to provide successful learning environments for ADHD students if they findstrategies that will benefit all three skills. Strategiesfor Teaching Students with ADHD”Attention deficit hyperactivitydisorder (ADHD) is a develop- mental, neurobiological condition defined by thepresence of severe and pervasive symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity andimpulsivity American Psychiatric Association (APA) 1994″ (Daley , 2009, p. 455). Individuals who haveADHD usually begin to display symptoms during early childhood, especiallyduring the primary school years.
There are three different types of ADHD. Thefirst type is predominately inattentive ADHD. Predominately inattentive ADHD iswhen individuals struggle with paying attention rather thanhyperactivity-impulsivity. Individuals who are diagnosed with this type of ADHDusually have a difficult time sitting through lectures and keeping track ofitems or schedule. The second type is predominately hyperactive-impulsive ADHD.Predominately hyperactive-impulsive ADHD is when an individual only displayshyperactivity or impulsivity.
Individuals who are diagnosed with this type ofADHD are the ones who have a hard time sitting or standing still, constantlysquirm and talk excessively. The third and last type is called combinationADHD. Combination ADHD is when an individual is both inattentive andhyper-impulsive. An individual who is diagnosed with this type of ADHDexperiences all three of the behaviors: inattentive, hyperactivity, andimpulsivity. While some individuals are able to manage ADHD symptoms, others strugglewith ADHD for a lifetime. The purpose of the paper is toexplore strategies teachers can use when having a child who has ADHD in theclassroom.
There are many different types of strategies that could impact the ADHDstudent in their academic environment; however, the influence for the ADHDstudent all depends on if the teacher will make the effort to come up withstrategies for the student to manage their behavioral, academics, andorganizational skills. Behavioral Strategies Many ADHD elementaryschool children have the tendency to display inappropriate behaviors during theeight-hour school day. The inappropriate behaviors, such as interrupting theteacher during instructional time, distracting peers, or not followingdirections can really test a teacher’s patience. Instead of giving up on theADHD student who is exhibiting disruptive behaviors, the teacher should seekout alternative instruction methods that will keep the student engaged andmotivated throughout the day. One strategy that has been proven effective inimproving the behavior of a student with ADHD, is establishing a positive teacher-studentrelationship with open communication. According to Geng (2012), “If the teacher has a positive attitude towards their students, andthey believe and act as if all their students will be successful, then studentswill live up to those expectations” (Geng, 2011, p.
17). The importance ofunderstanding that every student learns and behaves differently is crucial forteachers. The more teachers take the time to get to know the ADHD student, themore teachers learn the ADHD student’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses.Knowing the ADHD student’s strength and weaknesses, will allow the teacher toresearch different strategies to implement in the classroom such as a tokeneconomy system. A token economy system is a positive reinforcement technique inwhich teachers or parents award tokens or points when a child is exhibiting adesirable behavior (Coelho et al., 2015). If the child is exhibiting a non-desirablebehavior, the teacher or parents will take away tokens or points which reducesthe child’s chance at receiving a reward (Coelho et al., 2015).
The tokeneconomy system has been implemented by many teachers’ due to the fact that studentsenjoy receiving rewards. When students know they are working towards a reward, theyare more likely to be motivated and engaged during classroom instruction. If a teacherforms a positive teacher-student relationship with the ADHD student, he or shewill be able to easily determine what kind of reward the ADHD student will striveto work toward. Coelho et al. (2015), conducted a research study in order toprove whether or not the token economy system is beneficial for students whostruggle with ADHD. Coelho et al. (2015) reveals, “This study showed that usingTE technique as part of CBT effectively diminished externalizing (impulsivity,hyperactivity, disrupting routine, low frustration tolerance, and antisocialbehavior) and internalizing behaviors (poor self-care and disorganization)” (Coelhoet al., 2015, p.
7). The positive result of the study managed by Coelho et al.(2015), adds to the previous evidence-based strategies teachers can use whendealing with a student with ADHD. Therefore, forming a positive-studentrelationship plus the implementation of the token economy system, could beeffective strategies for teachers to incorporate in the classroom when dealingwith an ADHD student.Academic Strategies During school, an ADHDstudent encounters numerous challenges which can affect his or her academicsuccess. For instance, due to ADHD students’ low attention spans andhyperactivity, many miss important information that was taught during theschool day. ADHD students struggle, which hinders their ability to perform at theirmaximum potential on assignments and/or assessments.
If a teacher begins tonotice one of their ADHD students is struggling on a specific topic orassignment, he or she should attempt to improve the students learningexperience by implementing task instructional modifications. For instance, “Manipulationsinclude reducing task length, dividing tasks into sub-units, giving explicitinstructions, and modifying the delivery or modality of instruction accordingto the pupil’s learning style (Raggi & Chronis 2006)” (Daley , 2009, p. 460). During class, many ADHD students have the tendency totake a longer time completing tasks due to the length of the assignment and theshort amount of class time. Therefore, teachers should equip their assignmentsby reducing the number of problems or extending the time given to work on thespecific assignment. Another strategy that could help an ADHD student improveon his or her academic performance is peer tutoring. According to Daley (2009), “Peer tutoring is a strategy whereby an ADHD individual ispaired with a peer tutor to work on a certain academic activity, with the peertutor providing one-on-one instruction and assistance at the ADHD individual’sown pace” (Daley & Birchwood, 2009, p.
460). Peer tutoring could beextremely beneficial for ADHD students because of the one-on-one timeinstruction. Many ADHD students tend to get distracted in a whole group settingwhich causes their academic performance to decrease overtime. One-on-oneinstruction allows the ADHD student to focus on the task without distractingstimuli surrounding them. A good time to incorporate peer tutoring would be beforeor after school because both students would not miss important classroominstruction time during the school day. One last strategy that would beeffective on ADHD students’ academic performance would be incorporatingphysical activity during classroom instruction.
Many students with ADHD tend tohave a hard time sitting in class for long periods of time. For example, ADHDstudents become restless, which causes them to completely miss the importantinformation the teacher is discussing during class instruction. Many ADHDstudents need physical activity during class instruction that will keep thempreoccupied yet attentive as well.
If a teacher begins to notice his or herADHD student fidgeting or getting up from their seats during class instruction,he or she should find effective ways implement physical activity in the classroomfor the ADHD student. Kercood & Banda (2012), conducted a research study toinvestigate whether or not fine motor or gross motor physical activities improveboth ADHD non-ADHD students’ academic performance (Kercood & Banda, 2012). TheKercood & Banda (2012) study allowed their four elementary studentparticipants to sit on a bouncy ball (gross motor) or doodle (fine motor) duringthe listening comprehension task (Kercood & Banda, 2012).
Both tactics involvethe use of physical activity. The results of the Kercood & Banda (2012)study reveals, each of the four elementary student participants spent less timecompleting the tasks and had made significant progress in performance accuracyduring both gross and fine motor activities compared to the control condition(Kercood & Banda, 2012). With this in mind, teachers should look into implementingphysical activities in the classroom for their ADHD students. Not only willteacher see improvement on academic performance, but teachers will also see improvementon time management on assignments as well.Organizational StrategiesOne major skill ADHD students lack is the ability to stayorganized. For example, ADHD students have the tendency to not complete ormisplace their school work which effects their academic learning experience. Insteadof ignoring the ADHD student’s disorganization skills, teachers should look upevidence-based interventions that have been proven to help ADHD students systemizetheir school work and materials.
One intervention that has proven to beeffective in helping ADHD students with their organizational skills is HOPS. HOPSis an intervention that focuses on teaching students different strategies onmaterials organization, planning skills, impairment due to organizationalskills problems, and homework management and completion behaviors (Langberg,Becker, Epstein, Vaughn, & Girio-Herrera, 2013). Landberg et al. (2013), conducteda research study using HOPS intervention on a group of middle school studentswith ADHD who struggled with organizational skills in school. During the HOPSintervention, ADHD students were specifically taught how to organize theirbinders and backpacks, record homework assignments and tests in an agenda book,break down assignments into small manageable pieces, and plan out a schedulefor after school events (Landberg et al.
, 2013). The results of the Landberg etal. (2013) study, indicate that the participants benefited from the binderorganization system implemented by HOPS intervention (Landberg et al.
, 2013). Forthe purpose of improving ADHD students’ organizational skills, HOPSintervention should be highly considered by teachers to implement in theclassroom. Organizational skills are crucial for ADHD students to learn and executein order to be successful both in school and in the real-world.Discussion:The implementation of effective research proven strategies isextremely beneficial in helping ADHD students strive to reach their maximumpotential in the elementary classroom environment. A strength of the researchon ADHD is the significant amount of evidence based strategies that have beencreated to impact ADHD students behavioral, academic, and organizational skillsin the classroom. However, not every ADHD student will respond the same way forall evidence-based strategies.
Due to the fact that every ADHD child isdifferent, teachers must attempt various strategies in the classroom on orderto see which ones work best for the ADHD student. The weaknesses in research onADHD allows researchers to find future areas of research on ADHD. For instance,one future area of study researchers can further look into is how teachers canbest manage their stress levels when dealing with the ADHD students in theclassroom (Geng, 2011). Teachers have the tendency to become overwhelmed withemotion when having to deal with ADHD students which can affect a researchstudy’s outcomes.
Therefore, researchers should investigate how to implement strategiesfor teachers that will help reduce stress when dealing with an ADHD student inthe classroom. One other future area of research on ADHD to consider lookingfurther into is examining data taken from larger sample populations (Coelho etal. 2015). Many past studies on ADHD have been conducted on a small sample ofthe ADHD population (Coelho et al., 2016, Landberg et al., 2015, & Kercood& Banda, 2012).
Weak populations fail to include a variety of diversitybetween age groups, region, race, and ethnicity which can hinder outcomes of astudy. Overall, research on ADHD has thoroughly impacted ADHD students in theclassroom setting and will continue to impact ADHD students in the future. Conclusion/Summary:Teachers need to understand ADHD students’ struggle with behavioral,academic, and organizational skills on a daily basis. Developing a teacher-studentrelationship with ADHD students and enforcing a token economy system in the classroomcould potentially encourage ADHD students to engage in activities or lessonsthroughout the school day. Knowing the ADHD student allows the teacher to find waysto help the ADHD student and rewards to give the ADHD student when they arebehaving in an appropriate manner. Reducing the work load, extending due dates,and implementing peer tutoring and physical activity could help the ADHDstudent pay attention and understand the academic content more efficiently.
Lastly, supporting positive organizational habits through the use of HOPS willallow ADHD students to stay on track with assignments, homework, andassessments. Instead of giving up on the ADHD student who is displayingdisruptive behaviors, teachers should take their actions as a challenge tobecome a more effective teacher. References:American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), 4th edn.
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