The following shortlists illustrate specific ways to manage ADHD behaviour in school. The lists are based around four main areas of focus when handling ADHD:
- Improving self-awareness,
- Making rules and time obvious and in physical form,
- Increasing incentives in the classroom, and
- Some possible discipline methods.
These four categories most effectively help ADHD students by targeting their common struggles and starting to design an appropriate behaviour plan to manage them.
To help with low self-management skills, improve self-awareness by:
- Having student record productivity on a daily chart on public display so they can see their behaviour over time
- Having a student use a daily conduct card to rate his/her behaviour and then meet with the teacher about it. This card might have categories such as class participation, follows class rules, gets along with classmates, and others.
- Deciding on a cue word that has the student stop and monitor the situation and what he/she should be doing
- For teens, use nonverbal cues to call them to attention (ex. dropping a paper clip by the student’s desk)
Visualising Time and Rules
To give information more visually, make rules and time obvious and in physical form by:
- Displaying rules on posters for each work period
- Giving students laminated, color-coded card sets with rules on them for each subject
- Having student restate rules before each new activity
- Giving the student a recording of encouraging words and reminders of classroom rules – the student can listen to this with headphones
- Using timers or taped time signals to show how much time is left on an assignment. In general, do this as a way to visualize time during the school day.
Increasing Incentives for children with ADHD
To maintain an effective behaviour plan, increase incentives by:
- Increasing praise, approval, and appreciation of student’s good behaviour and work performance
- Using a token or point system to organize privileges and their prices
- Trying team-based or group rewards to incorporate some competition
- Having parents donate old games/toys to have more fun activities… even consider having an old video game as a reward
Appropriate Discipline Methods
To refine your behaviour plan, consider some of these appropriate discipline methods:
- Gentle, private, direct reprimands – personalize it by going directly to the child with brief corrective statement
- Act fast! Immediacy is key for the punishment to truly work
- Try the “Do a Task” procedure. When a student misbehaves, explain what they did wrong and give them a number. This number might mean, for example, the child will do that number of worksheets. Put a separate desk in the back for this purpose, and when the student finishes, he/she will place the work on your desk and return to normal seat.
- Make a quiet place in the room for the student to regain emotional control
- Use time-outs in classroom or private room (hallway time-outs don’t work)