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Section 13
Managing ADHD Children in Classroom

Question 13 | Test | Table of Contents | ADHD CEU Courses
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On the last track, we discussed a guideline for effective home-school partnerships and avoiding the obstacle of misunderstanding.

On this track, we will discuss techniques for classroom management of ADHD children. I have found that there are five key strategies for dealing with ADHD children in the classroom that I like to pass on to teachers. These five key strategies for dealing with ADHD children in the classroom are 1. Thinking ADHD, 2. Crisp Behavior Management, 3. Prevention, 4. Dealing with Parents, and 5. Experimental Thinking.

Kelly, age 25 fourth grade teacher, came to me frustrated near the beginning of the school year. Kelly was beginning her second year teaching and for the first time had an ADHD child in her class, Anne. Kelly stated, "I’ve tried all the normal teaching styles and discipline techniques, but nothing seems to work! Anne just can’t seem to pay attention. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she is usually acting up and taking the other kids’ attention away from what I’m teaching as well!"

As you know, statistics show that in a classroom of 20 or 25 students, usually one child has ADHD. I stated to Kelly, "You were lucky your first year if you didn’t have a student with ADHD. Now that you have one, though, you may want to consider some different approaches to teaching her and managing her classroom behavior."

Five Key Strategies for Dealing with ADHD Children in the Classroom
Obviously, there are several strategies teachers may use in dealing with ADHD children. I explained to Kelly that in my experience, there are five key strategies for dealing with ADHD children in the classroom. As you listen to the strategies and techniques I explained to Kelly, think of your teacher client who instructs ADHD children. Are any of these obvious techniques that your client may be missing in his or her classroom?

Share on Facebook Strategy #1 - Thinking ADHD
I explained to Kelly that the first key strategy for dealing with an ADHD child in the classroom is Thinking ADHD. I stated, "A teacher can’t expect normal behavior from a handicapped child. Although your student, Anne, doesn’t look handicapped, remember that she does have ADHD, and it will probably affect her learning. ADHD is not something she can turn off at will."

Kelly stated, "I understand that. But I still don’t understand her ADHD." I explained to Kelly that one way to get a better understanding of Anne’s ADHD might be to evaluate the extent to which Anne shows the signs of ADHD. Remember the Symptom Rating Scale discussed on track 3? This helpful tool for children with ADHD and their parents can also be useful for the teacher of the ADHD child.

I explained the steps of the Symptom Rating Scale to Kelly. I then suggested that it might also be helpful to compare her Symptom Rating Scale for Anne with Anne’s parents’ Symptom Rating Scale.

Share on Facebook Strategy #2 - Crisp Behavior Management
I then explained the second key strategy for dealing with an ADHD child in the classroom, Crisp Behavior Management. Kelly asked, "What do you mean by Crisp Behavior Management?" I replied, "Crisp means things you can do quickly to take care of the ADHD student’s behavior management problem. As you know, behavior management for ADHD children can be divided into two categories, disruptive misbehavior, and non-disruptive ADHD behavior."

I explained these to Kelly and stated, "For example, talking in the middle of your lecture would be considered disruptive misbehavior. But if Anne is just moving around restlessly in her seat, it is non-disruptive ADHD behavior." Kelly stated, "I think I’ve got misbehavior covered. Anne understands that if she misbehaves, she’ll be punished with a detention. But then what do I do if Anne is just getting restless? I can usually see when she’s getting fidgety. I know she doesn’t mean to distract others in the class, but the movement is distracting. It’s not fair to punish her for that!"

To combat non-disruptive ADHD behavior, I explained to Kelly that a secret signal might be handy. I stated, "Many teachers will arrange a secret signal with the ADHD student to get the student’s attention if he or she is getting restless. You could talk to Anne and arrange your own secret signal, like tugging on your ear or tapping your elbow." As you know, the secret signal is designed to not embarrass the ADHD child and usually engages him or her in a mutual problem-solving game.

Share on Facebook Strategy #3 - Prevention
In addition to Thinking ADHD and Crisp Behavior Management, I explained to Kelly that the third key strategy for dealing with an ADHD child in the classroom is Prevention. I stated to Kelly, "There are several things you can do to prevent some of Anne’s non-disruptive ADHD behavior from even starting." I suggested allowing legitimate movement for Anne.

I stated, "At certain times in the day, let her sharpen a pencil, stretch, or even run errands for you to the principal’s office. Allowing Anne to move around during the day can be a real blessing for both of you, and even other students." I also explained that desk placement is important for ADHD children. I stated, "If Anne’s desk is closer to the front of the classroom, it will imitate the kind of one-on-one learning situation in which ADHD children perform better."

Are any of these obvious prevention techniques ones that a current client of yours might have forgotten?

Share on Facebook Strategy #4 - Dealing with Parents
I then explained to Kelly the fourth key strategy for dealing with an ADHD child in the classroom, Dealing with Parents. As you know, it is hard to discuss serious, emotionally-loaded issues with strangers. I asked Kelly, "Have you had any meetings with Anne’s parents?"

Kelly answered, "Yes, but I really haven’t been taking them seriously. I mean, I have to have parent-teacher conferences with the moms and dads of 24 other kids, too." I stated to Kelly, "To help Anne the most, you will want a good relationship with her parents so that you can discuss any serious problems she may be having in class."

Share on Facebook Strategy #5 - Experimental Thinking
After Dealing with the Parents, I explained the fifth key strategy for dealing with an ADHD child in the classroom, Experimental Thinking. I stated, "You can try the suggestions I’m giving you now, but if they don’t work, don’t be afraid to modify a technique or try something new. Be willing to take suggestions from other teachers who have had Anne in class before, or teachers who have dealt with ADHD children before."

Do you have any teacher clients that are having trouble dealing with ADHD children in their classrooms? Would any of these basic techniques be beneficial to them? Would you consider playing this track for them in your next session?

On this track, we have discussed several techniques for classroom management of ADHD children. We discussed five key strategies for dealing with ADHD children in the classroom. Those five key strategies are 1. Thinking ADHD, 2. Crisp Behavior Management, 3. Prevention, 4. Dealing with Parents, and 5. Experimental Thinking.

On the next track, we will discuss Teaching Time Management for ADHD teens. We will also discuss four steps to teaching an ADHD teen how to manage his or her time. These four steps are Plan, Prioritize, Schedule, and Follow the Plan.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Evans, S. W., Langberg, J. M., Schultz, B. K., Vaughn, A., Altaye, M., Marshall, S. A., & Zoromski, A. K. (2016). Evaluation of a school-based treatment program for young adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(1), 15–30.

Evans, S. W., Pelham, W. E., Smith, B. H., Bukstein, O., Gnagy, E. M., Greiner, A. R., Altenderfer, L., & Baron-Myak, C. (2001). Dose–response effects of methylphenidate on ecologically valid measures of academic performance and classroom behavior in adolescents with ADHD. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 9(2), 163–175.

Sibley, M. H., Graziano, P. A., Kuriyan, A. B., Coxe, S., Pelham, W. E., Rodriguez, L., Sanchez, F., Derefinko, K., Helseth, S., & Ward, A. (2016). Parent–teen behavior therapy + motivational interviewing for adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(8), 699–712.

QUESTION 13
What are five key strategies for dealing with ADHD children in the classroom? To select and enter your answer go to Test

 

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