According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 6 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. This makes ADHD one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders and a struggle for children in schools. However, there are treatments, ADHD teaching strategies, and other ways to help students with ADHD. 

What Is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders with 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults diagnosed. It is typically diagnosed in childhood but can last into adulthood. Common symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. However, there are ways to improve the symptoms of ADHD including behavioral therapy and medication.  

With that in mind, research has shown that medicine alone does not solve all of the issues for most children and students with ADHD. A study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that combination treatment is most effective. This includes medication to help with the hyperactivity and lack of concentration, behavior therapy, and ADHD teaching strategies with special education teachers. The focus of behavior therapy is to work on more subtle social skill concerns and organization which has been shown to help kids with ADHD. 

What is Behavioral Therapy?

Behavior therapy is a very structured plan that has rewards and consequences for an individual’s actions. These may be created by a school psychologist. Working as a team, all adults involved with the child would be shown how to use the program. The more reinforcement, the better it will work and become second nature for the child. The goal over time is to show the child different ways to do things within the classroom or at home seeking positive reinforcement and thus eliminating the undesired behavior. How does this help over medication alone? Prescription medication helps with focus and concentration on work. It does not assist with a student’s lack of organization, time management troubles, and sinking self-esteem. Positive reinforcement with behavior therapy can do all of this when all people are willing to reinforce the plan in all parts of the student’s life.

School psychologists need to be willing to work with teachers and parents to create behavior therapy plans. Observation in the classroom and input from home will help you to come up with ideas to use for reward and what may need to be removed if undesired behavior is seen. The key is to come up with things that will catch the attention of the individual child and excite them to get praise and continue to move in that direction. When they hear positive feedback from adults and even other students, they will continue to work toward their goals, even without a concrete reward.

Strategies For Students With ADHD

There are a variety of teaching strategies for students with ADHD. With that in mind, not every child is the same and it is important to find the right strategy for how to help ADHD students. 

Provide Visual Reminders 

One way teachers can help students with ADHD is by using visual reminders and cues. Unlike a verbal reminder, a visual reminder stays in place and makes it easier for the child to remember. 

Increase Active Class Participation

Increasing your active class participation is a great way to help keep the attention of students with ADHD. There are many games and activities for kids with ADHD that you can implement in the classroom to engage your students. For example, instead of having students raise their hands to answer questions, you can have them write on whiteboards, answer questions in unison, or talk with a group. 

Encourage Hands-On Learning 

Since students can learn in a variety of different ways, it is important to teach in a variety of different styles. Hands-on learning tends to be a more engaging way to learn and can help a child with ADHD stay focused. Teachers can create hands-on learning opportunities by asking kids to act things out, record an assignment on video equipment, and even put together models. Routines can also be how you go about your lessons.

Establish Classroom Routines

Routines are important for ADHD kids as they can make daily functioning more manageable and help them thrive. Hence, having a constant routine in the classroom is another great method to help students stay on task. Easy ways to establish a routine are creating a classroom schedule, using a similar teaching style, and having similar learning activities. 

Final Thoughts On Helping Students With ADHD

Overall, there are many ways you can help students with ADHD when you understand what is ADHD and strategies you can use as a teacher. If you’re interested in special education teacher jobs, check our available school jobs and apply today!