Students with ADD and ADHD have difficulty focusing and concentrating in class. In the inclusion setting, these difficulties can be displayed via various attention seeking behaviors including calling out in class and other disruptive behaviors that affect the learning environment of all students. Typical behavior management techniques like rewards, redirection, and providing explicit instruction do not always resolve the issue, especially for tweens and teens. Creative management techniques may be the answer.
Students with ADD or ADHD do benefit from a structured environment. In a structured environment, the students should be provided not only explicit directions, but also have the behavior and academic expectations modeled to them on a consistent basis. The teacher needs to be consistent with praise, punishment, and upholding high standards both academically and behaviorally. Both praise and consequences should be given immediately. This way, the student can attach the feedback to the action. When administering consequences, be aware of how the student may feel if they are singled out in the classroom. If the student is sensitive, consequences should be handled in a manner to make the student not retract or feel defensive.
Creative Positive Reinforcement
Creative positive reinforcement techniques must be used with tweens and teens. Typically, behavior charts and prizes are not the reinforcement they are looking for the most. However, I have had a good response with verbal and written praise. I have had many students with ADHD want to have a daily update on “how did I do” or “did I do better today”. I will respond with explicitly what was good or bad. For example, “I liked how you raised your had today every time you had a question” or “tomorrow, I’d like you to spend 5 minutes (with a timer) working on your worksheet in class.” Being specific will help the child to know specifically what to work on and what they did well.
Teens and tweens are highly motivated by the use of technology. Using technology in your behavior management strategy with students with ADD or ADHD can help you to provide consistency and reinforcement. One way to do this would be to have the student create a Google Calendar. This calendar can be shared between the teachers, parent, and student. The student can update the calendar with information about homework, projects, and assessments. They can also create an area that can be updated with a reflection on how the student felt the class or day went. Teachers can then read and also add or post information about the behavior and academic goals for the student. This type of strategy will also help for parent communication and can be integrated to be used through a cell phone or other cell applications.
Teachers and students could also use one of the many online point and reward sites. These sites allow teachers (or parents) to track student behavior. Once students reach a certain goal, they will earn various rewards or incentives that can be setup by the teacher. One free site that is specifically designed for the classroom is KidsPoints. On this site, a teacher can add all of their students into the program. Each student would have a login and password. The teacher then will add or remove points based on a set of criteria. Once the student earns the required amount of points for the reward, they then can redeem it with the teacher.
Every student will need different modifications to help them to be successful both academically and behaviorally. Trying out some of these creative techniques may be the key to a successful year in your classroom and help those students with ADD and ADHD be successful as well.
Online Resources for Teachers
- Online Stopwatch (helps to time activities, quiet time, and attention lengths)
- KidsPoints (online reward tracking system)
- Positive Reinforcement Checklist
Article By: Laura Ketcham