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11 strategies to help learners with ADHD to be successful

A key sign of ADHD includes: children talking frequently or excessively, even when parents or teachers ask them to stop. Pic: Pexels/Tara Winstead

A key sign of ADHD includes: children talking frequently or excessively, even when parents or teachers ask them to stop. Pic: Pexels/Tara Winstead

Published Apr 20, 2022

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What is ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)? ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.

Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. Children with ADHD often have problems with sitting still, staying focused, following instructions, staying organised, and completing homework. While this may not be considered a learning disability, it can certainly disrupt learning.

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The exact cause of ADHD is not clear; research efforts continue. Factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD include genetics, the environment or problems with the central nervous system at key moments in development. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some children never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms.

While treatment won't cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioural interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.

ADHD occurs more often in males than in females, and behaviours can be different in boys and girls. For example, boys may be more hyperactive and girls may tend to be quietly inattentive.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three subtypes of ADHD:

  • Predominantly inattentive. The majority of symptoms fall under inattention.
  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive. The majority of symptoms are hyperactive and impulsive.
  • Combined. This is a mix of inattentive symptoms and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.

Below are strategies from the book Mayo Clinic Guide to Raising a Healthy Child:

1. Give clear, written and verbal directions;

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2. Consider flexible seating options;

3. Set up a workstation in each classroom;

4. Teach executive functioning skills;

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5. Schedule organisation check-in time;

6. Give extra opportunities for movement;

7. Use thought journal to share ideas:

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8. Use a timer for work sessions;

9. Provide fidgets and teach the children how to use them;

10. Teach and practise predictable routines; and

11. Spend time building confidence

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