AD/HD at School

 The symptoms of AD/HD can interfere significantly with learning, especially as the demands on executive function become more challenging. While this may not be obvious in some cases, it is best for teachers to remember that a student with AD/HD - irrespective of how intelligent s/he is - does not always fully understand instructions, does not always hear everything that is said to him/her, has difficulty processing information, rarely feels worthy or accomplished and usually experiences stress in a much more intense way, which complicates life considerably for him or her. How can teachers best accommodate this type of child? Undoubtedly, it is a challenge for any teacher to have a child with this type of hidden disability in the classroom. While it may be easier for teachers in Primary school to accommodate such a student, Secondary school teachers who are subject oriented and under a great deal of pressure from the school management to keep abreast with a demanding curriculum and schedule have more difficulties with this. We are aware of these difficulties and can help all teachers develop the knowledge, understanding and strategies to enable them to be able to teach all the children in their care. What Difficulties Do Children with AD/HD Experience at School? From an early age, they feel out-of-step with their peers for the following reasons: They have already learned that they are inadequate in some ways and, therefore, not as good as their peers. They cannot keep up with their peers because of their inability to concentrate, and therefore to listen properly. They fall behind at school for the same reason. They fall behind at school too because of forgetting to do (or hand in) homework. They feel much more stressed than their peers by the time school ends each day. Some will have trouble writing down homework from the whiteboard (disorganized, reading or writing difficulties, lack of focus or distracted by what is going on in the classroom). Behaviour is often an issue too; children with AD/HD may be badly behaved for a number of reasons:
  • They have a short attention span and get bored easily.
  • Some discover that they can be more popular if they misbehave.
  • Others break rules without realising it.
  • If they are also oppositional, it can be more serious.
  • Most exhibit this type of behaviour both at home and school.
How Does This Affect Learning?
  • The child may have difficulty remembering what s/he has just read.
  • S/he may have difficulty writing down homework in the time allotted to do this.
  • The child may have problems copying down from whiteboard.
  • Homework will be especially problematic because of the heightened stress caused by the school day.
  • The child may have difficulty organizing thoughts, ideas, projects, schoolbag, desk, locker…
  • The child may have a poor sense of direction and may get lost when going from one building to another (result: often arrives late.)
  • The child may have trouble with change (switching to another task, changing classrooms, having a substitute teacher without advance warning.
  • The child may have difficulty staying on task because of distractions (children writing, noise from classroom, etc.)
  • The child may be unable to understand the teacher’s instructions.
  • Due to motor difficulty, the child may not be able to work as quickly as the other children.
  • The child may find it impossible to sit for longer than five or ten minutes at a time.
Possible Reasons for Behavioural Problems:
  • Hyperactive children find it difficult to sit still, stop talking or pay attention.
  • Children with short-term memory deficits may appear to be not paying attention.Students on the autistic spectrum may act and/or speak inappropriately.
  • Children with AD/HD often act impulsively, thus getting into trouble.
  • A child with low self-esteem may become the class clown.
  • Students with AD/HD can find it difficult to control their emotions.

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ADHD Europe asks for better provisions for Teenagers with ADHD who continue to need access to mental health services after they turn 18.
This must be a priority across Europe so please sign the Declaration:

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