Though ADD is not indicative of intelligence, students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) have trouble staying on-task, and this can pose a threat to academic success. There are several measures teachers can take to ensure ADD students experience quality classroom learning. In addition to dialogue and lesson plan alterations, teachers can make small changes to their physical classroom setup to accommodate ADD students.
What is ADD?
According to the CDC, approximately 11 percent of children age 4-17 in the United States have been diagnosed with ADD. Children with ADD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. These symptoms can be especially disruptive in a classroom setting, where students are required to sit still and pay attention for an extended period of time.
Accommodating ADD students in the classroom
Edutopia and HelpGuide.org offer valuable insights and instructional strategies for teaching students with ADD. We were particularly interested in what they had to say about the physical classroom space. Here are five easy-to-implement setup strategies that have shown to improve classroom learning in ADD students:
- Re-arrange seating: Limit distractions from outside the classroom by seating the student with ADD as close to your desk as possible and away from windows and the door.
- Use tangible reminders to promote pause: Bring tangible items, such as a red ball cap or rubber band to class, to serve as tangible reminders to pause and think before acting. Teachers can model these items to reinforce the idea that a pause is needed before making behavioral, emotional, and academic decisions.
- Incorporate a quiet area: Create a quiet area free of distractions for ADD students to take tests and study.
- Promote pause with words and images. Teachers can help students identify words that promote pause, such as halt, stop, think, and breathe. In addition to the words, teachers can hang posters or pictures that convey these ideas throughout the classroom.
- Color code: Designating a color for each subject helps students keep materials organized.
Students with ADD experience unique learning challenges, but with a bit of patience from teachers, and a few tweaks to their classroom surroundings, their chances of academic success are vastly improved.
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