Learning Strategies to Improve the Academic Success of Person with ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition which causes the sufferer to struggle to focus his attention and can often be seen as being purely just bad behaviour. However, the sufferer is often unable to control his behaviour and this can lead to him being a massively disruptive factor in the classroom and during lessons. Often, persons who have been diagnosed as having ADHD will be on some form of drug which will help to stabilise their moods and boost their ability to control their behaviour. However, in the classroom, it is often prevalent for the teacher to implement a number of learning strategies which help the ADHD person to focus and learn as effectively as his peers, whilst also limiting his disruption to the lesson and the learning of his peers. There is a strong correlation between ADHD children and low academic performance although there is no evidence that suggests they are below average intelligence (DuPaul & Stoner 21) and so with the simple implementation of a number of learning strategies, the ADHD child’s education can be as full and rewarding as that of their non-ADHD peers.
The majority of people will adhere to one of three learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic – and an affective teacher will cater to all three of these. For most ADHD children, kinaesthetic learning is an excellent way of utilising their excess of energy as it involves doing things physically, rather than just sitting and listening which can be boring for most people but for ADHD children, it is nigh on impossible to sit and listen for a full lesson’s length of time. Kinaesthetic learners require regular study breaks to allow them to move around; encouragement to create mnemonic doodles alongside notes in class; an additional movement implemented whilst studying (such as throwing a ball whilst memorising); having regular reasons to be standing up or even being allowed to work whilst standing up; using colourful highlighters whilst reading a text; listening to music whilst studying (Oberne 50). The implementation of these things can lead to a more harmonious classroom because it is making an allowance for the ADHD person to learn in his own way, rather than being forced to conform to the normal classroom practices.
Many ADHD students will struggle to follow a succession of instructions, and so by giving the class three instructions all at once - for example, write your name on the sheet, stick it into your book and then put your book in the box – the ADHD child may struggle to remember all three instructions or, faced with a set of instructions that lack supervision, the ADHD student may become un-focused and begin to ‘mis-behave’ (as we construe it) instead. Therefore, it is vital to give clear and concise instructions. Give an instruction, such as ‘write your name on the sheet’ and only give the next instruction after everyone in the classroom has completed it (DeRuvo 113). Of course, it is vital to ensure that every member of the class is giving you their attention when you are ready to give them an instruction. To make sure this is the case, try using a visual or auditory aid which signals that you require their attention, such as a bell (DeRuvo 113). By doing this, the ADHD child will recognise that it is time to focus.
Another excellent learning strategy is to implement a quick pace to the lesson. By making activities short, interesting and challenging, the teacher can engage the ADHD student through introducing an almost ‘competitive’ edge to activities. The ADHD child’s focus will begin to slip if they lose interest in a task or become bored by it – this is further proof that the ADHD child is not necessarily unintelligent, and in fact, it can be quite the opposite. So, making sure that tasks are geared up to a challenging standard for the ADHD child is also vital. Adding a time limit to activities can also help to focus the ADHD child and, indeed, their classmates too (DeRuvo 113-114). There are a variety of online stopwatches which play a buzzer sound when the time is up and can be displayed on an interactive whiteboard. Although it may seem somewhat ominous and pressured to introduce a strict time limit to a task, it can help to make it more exciting and the students – particularly the ADHD children – will find that it focuses their attention more fully.
ADHD children are often misconstrued as being naughty children but in reality, most ADHD children are simply lacking in focus and require some extra attention to better their attention span. As displayed here, there are a number of extremely simple, unobtrusive learning strategies which can transform a normal lesson into one which is more active and exciting and which will pose more of a focused challenge to the ADHD child and his classmates.
DeRuvo, Silvia L. Strategies for Teaching Adolescents with ADHD: Effective Classroom Techniques Across the Content Areas. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2009. Print.
DuPaul, George J. & Stoner, Gary D. DHD in the schools: assessment and intervention strategies. New York: The Guilford Press, 2003. Print.
Oberne, Sharon. Are You Sure...It's ADHD? Nebraska: iUniverse, 2006. Print.