Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC
ADHD affects millions of children all around the world every single year. A majority of these children must learn to manage their symptoms throughout middle school, high school, college, and even into adulthood. For some ADHD patients, it continues throughout their entire life.
Since ADHD impairs a child’s ability to learn in a classroom setting, it’s essential they’re given all the tools and resources needed when managing their symptoms in school. That means a total group effort from everyone involved — including the child, the parent, and the teachers.
Of course, you must first understand what the symptoms of ADHD are, as well as how the symptoms impair a child’s ability to cooperate and learn in a classroom setting. Don’t worry, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about ADHD in the classroom.
So, how does ADHD affect a child in the classroom?
ADHD, also known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, affects children in a variety of ways. Every child has a different experience with it, and the symptoms often change over time. With that being said, ADHD symptoms are generally grouped into one of three categories.
The first category is inattentiveness, which is characterized by difficulty paying attention or staying focused. Children often have a short attention span, struggle to listen to others or follow directions, are easily distracted, make careless mistakes, and find it hard to stay organized.
The second category is hyperactivity, which is characterized by difficulty sitting still and calming down. Children suffering from these symptoms often talk excessively, don’t remain in their seats for long, fidget with items, tap their hands or feet, lose things, and struggle to complete tasks.
The third category is impulsivity, which is characterized by random thoughts or behaviors that cause the child to act in ways it normally wouldn’t or in ways that are deemed inappropriate. For example, they might interrupt others, have a hard time waiting for their turn, answer questions they don’t know the answer to, or acts without thinking.
In many cases, it’s difficult for parents and teachers to determine when a child is suffering from ADHD and when they’re just being a child. It can be hard for most children to sit still in their seats and pay attention, but there’s a point when it becomes problematic to the children’s ability to learn.
The harder it is for the child to learn in a classroom setting, the more obstacles they’re faced with throughout their childhood and teenage years. That’s why teachers, parents, and the school system needs to be on the same page when providing an environment that sets the child up for success.
What Role Do Teachers Play?
Teachers play a major role in the success of the child while in school. Not only do they need to understand the different disabilities and disorders their students are suffering from, but they need to understand how to manage their symptoms and provide a supportive environment for them.
There are five major areas a teacher must accommodate when hosting a child with ADHD in their classroom — seating, organization, classroom management, information delivery, and the student’s Work. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
- Seating – offering seating that’s away from distractions, near the teacher, or near other responsible students gives the child an easy place to focus and pay attention. The teacher should also consider giving the child a single desk, opposed to sitting them at a two-person desk or table.
- Organization – teachers should provide an assignment notebook to help the child keep track of their assignments. They should also give students a variety of options when completing their Work and teach them how to organize their schoolwork along the way. It also helps to notify parents of any major deadlines coming up.
- Classroom Management – positive reinforcement and feedback inside the classroom is highly necessary when teaching ADHD students. The use of routines, allowing the student to fidget when appropriate, and rewarding good behavior goes a long way in teaching the child how to better act in the classroom.
- Information Delivery – when giving oral directions or an oral lesson provide written instructions as well, so students may refer back to the information given. The use of pictures, diagrams, charts, and maps are also helpful to the student. At the end of the day, teachers should make learning exciting and motivating for the student.
- Student’s Work – instead of giving the student a worksheet, consider using task cards when teaching the child. If you don’t want to make them feel different, utilize task cards with the whole class. Teachers should also consider shortening assignments to make up for the extra time it takes the student to complete.
When teachers encounter a student with ADHD symptoms, it’s important to understand how to manage the student and provide an environment they feel comfortable in. At the same time, you want to continue teaching them how to assimilate with the rest of the class.
It takes an enormous amount of skill, and it’s a large reason why teachers are so respected in society today. They do a lot to provide a better future for our children, and they deserve a lot of credit for getting the students where they need to be in life.
What Role Do Parents Play?
As important as teachers are to a student’s success when living with ADHD, the parent plays a major role — even outside the home. In fact, there is a wide range of things parents should know, understand, and prepare for when enrolling their child with ADHD in a school.
For starters, parents should have a deep understanding of their child’s specific symptoms and what subtype of ADHD their child suffers from. There are three major types — ADHD-PI, ADHD-HI, and ADHD-C.
ADHD-PI is characterized by inattentiveness and difficulty focusing. ADHD-HI is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty staying still. ADHD-C is a combination of the other two subtypes, meaning the child suffers from inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Parents should also speak with their child’s teacher and/or counselor before enrolling their child. This is a prime opportunity to ensure the teacher is well-equipped to manage your child’s symptoms in the classroom. It also gives the teacher a chance to prepare a unique plan for your child.
You should always make sure you obtain written documentation from anyone that’ll be supervising your child in school. It’s important you keep a solid working relationship with them and remain in contact frequently to ensure progress is going well. Much like you would with medical history, you should keep a record of any communication you have with teachers.
Outside of that, the best thing you can do for your child with ADHD is to keep them motivated every morning before school. Make sure they’re happy with how things are going and make sure they keep up with their homework while at home.
How Does The Government Help?
Believe it or not, the government plays a large role in ensuring students with disabilities and disorders — such as ADHD — are given the proper tools and resources needed to succeed. They also ensure parents know their rights when enrolling an ADHD student in school.
With the help of two government statutes — IDEA and Section 504 — parents can rest easy knowing the government has their child’s back. Of course, it’s only valuable to the parent if the parent is aware of the statutes and what they represent.
IDEA is a funding statute that applies to all state and local school districts. It requires the state to follow certain guidelines and conditions when funding special education.
Section 504, on the other hand, is a civil rights statute that applies to all federally-funded programs (including public schools). It requires states to fund non-discriminatory services to the child, which may or may not include reasonable accommodations.
It’s important parents are made aware of these two government statutes and take advantage of them in any way possible. It could be an enormous boost in getting your child the care and attention they need when going through their school years.
Tips & Strategies For The Student
We’ve discussed a wide range of tips and strategies for parents and teachers, including ways the government can assist, but we haven’t discussed much regarding the actual student. While they’re the ones suffering the symptoms, they also play a large role in their success in school.
Let’s take a look at some of our most significant and prominent tips for students suffering from ADHD symptoms in the classroom:
- Understand your symptoms and try to find ways to manage them. Sometimes, trial and error is the best route when finding what works and what doesn’t.
- Instead of doing your homework or studying all at once, break it up into small chunks. Do five problems, then take a 10-minute break before completing another five problems.
- Utilize the power of a list. Whether you have certain tasks that need to be completed or are trying to remember something for later, write it down, so you don’t forget.
- Everyone has peak hours in the day where they perform and function their best. Know what time of the day you perform your best and take advantage of it.
- Keep a constant relationship with your teachers. They want what’s best for you and are willing to give you the care and attention you need.
School is extremely important to any child growing up. It’s where they learn a wide variety of the behaviors, thoughts, mindset, and actions they take with them throughout the rest of their life. Children must understand this and take their schoolwork seriously, with or without ADHD.
Of course, it largely depends on the type of care and support they receive from everyone else involved. As long as we’re all in this together, we can ensure your child is given everything they need to succeed in school.
Is Your Child Suffering From ADHD?
Millions of children suffer from ADHD symptoms every year. It’s one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in the world and creates a wide range of obstacles in the child’s life — including their performance in school.
Early detection is the best thing you can do for your child, especially since there are a variety of organizations and statutes prepared to assist your child with their schoolwork. That’s why you need to seek a professional evaluation the moment you notice ADHD symptoms in your child.
Since most children experience ADHD symptoms from time to time, some parents are often confused when trying to distinguish ADHD from normal child behavior. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place.
Mind Diagnostics has created a comprehensive online ADHD test to help adults detect ADHD in themselves or in their children. Keep in mind, ADHD is often hereditary, and many children with ADHD also have parents with ADHD.
Suppose you want to test yourself or test your child with a quick ADHD quiz, head over to our website or mobile app to get started today. If you feel further evaluation is needed, we can help match you with a therapist in your area.
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns about the process.