ADHD in the classroom is not just a struggle for educators, but for the students who deal with it. Here is how to best help the ADHD child with social skills necessary for achieving in the classroom.
Teaching the ADHD child takes a lot of patience, excellent classroom management and an understanding of ADHD in children.
Often we forget about the struggles these students have with social skills. School is the most significant place a child has for socializing, outside of the family. Educators need to know how to best help these students develop positive social skills, as that is just as much a part of teaching children with ADHD as the academics are.
Teachers provide the first model for acceptable social behavior in the classroom. Children learn by imitation – through watching the actions of adults and peers. A teacher uses verbal cues and has affective skills and body language that students pick up on, or not!
Children and teens with ADHD have great difficulty picking up on non-verbal cues, such as facial expression and body language. They just don’t “get it,” and often continue the disruptive behaviors without realizing they are doing something wrong.
How Can Teachers Help the ADHD Child?
Verbally teach the student to recognize social behaviors. Participation, cooperation and communication are vital skills that are used in school. Teach students what different body and facial expressions mean. Children with ADHD benefit from immediate feedback through strong affective gestures, such as a thumbs up, frown, etc. Once these students are taught how to “read” emotions, their peer interaction improves.
2. Practice Appropriate Behaviors
Involve your school counselor to provide role playing for certain social situations. Include instructional activities that encourage student interaction and class discussions, and use the opportunity to model behaviors.
If a student is struggling greatly with behaviors, consider a specific behavior intervention plan.
Point out positive behaviors in the classroom. Noticing appropriate behaviors escapes the ADHD child unless it is made specific note of by the teacher. This is not to suggest that you say, “Look at Joe over there? See how he is working? Why can’t you be more like him?” What you should say is, “Well done, Joe. You are working very hard,” and say it loud enough for the class to hear. Place value on effort, not on quantity of work.
ADHD statistics show that if we do not address these students needs, they are certainly at risk.