Monday, 16 April 2012

adhd strategies

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a difficult disability to deal with as a parent and/or teacher. Children with ADHD are challenging and they need constant support. Quick fix solutions will not work. The strategies must be used continually, consistently and they must be adapted when they are no longer useful. Parents and teachers must be proactive. The following, will describe many of the successful strategies I apply in my classroom. I have alson used all of these strategies in a non-academic atmosphere with success.

External motivators are a necessity. Eye contact, repetition, cueing and phasing of activities are also necessary when interacting with an ADHD student. Organisation skills are key at home and at school, in terms of materials and time. The One, Two, Three Method is effective when these children are misbehaving. Three tracking systems that I have used in school can easily be adapted to the home environment. If these strategies are implemented consistently, I believe that parents and teachers can have more positive interactions with students with ADHD.

ADHD children need external motivators. These rewards must be tangible, immediate and the children should be able to manipulate them. I use a system called Bonus Bucks. I created paper money that the students can earn for good behaviour, completed homework, good test marks etc. Three dollars earns the student a prize.

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Fifteen Bonus Bucks earns the student a movie for a period and twenty Bonus Bucks allows the student to be teacher for the day.

They are allowed to trade the Bonus Bucks, barter among themselves and even charge interest on their loans.

At the beginning of the school year, I hand out Bonus Bucks for almost everything they do well (good behaviour, completed homework, good class work etc.) As the year progresses, I phase them out. The students continue to work but for less external reward. This system can easily be adapted for home.

Children with ADHD zone in and out of reality quickly and often. It is very important to make sure that you have the childs attention. Eye contact is one sure way of knowing that the child is paying attention. Repetition is an effective method to ensure that the child heard the instructions. Having the child repeat exactly what was just said to him/her lets you know immediately whether he/she was aware of the instructions. This will save needless stress when the child repeatedly asks, What do I have to do? Cueing a student by tapping his/her desk, stating his/her name, uttering a predetermined code word or merely using physical proximity will get the child back on task. Phasing activities is perhaps the best way to keep a childs attention. The average persons attention span is roughly the same as their age. The child with ADHD has a much shorter attention span. Phase activities so the child moves from one part of the activity to the next as quickly as possible. In teaching that could mean spending ten to fifteen minutes explaining the task, allowing twenty to thirty minutes to allow the students to complete the task and then the final minutes discussing and evaluating the activity.

These are still large chunks of time but at least the student has more of a chance to be effective.

Organisation is very important with the ADHD child. It is usually one of their weaknesses and they need a lot of help to maintain a sense of order in their lives. In my classes, I do a bi-weekly binder check. At the beginning of the year, I show them what order the handouts belong in and how to input new ones.

With some students, I do locker checks to help them organise their lockers. Colour coding binders to tests to coincide with classes also helps the students to prepare.

An agenda is key to these students and I also check agendas to be sure homeword is being kept track of. I communicate with parents through these agendas. I strongly recommend that the ADHD students time be well organised at home and at school. At school, he/she follows a timetable and within each class, there is usually a schedule. At home, he/she should also follow some kind of structure. Homework should be planned for a certain time each day as should chores, or any other type of activity. Give these children advance notice to any change in their game plan and try to keep things consistent.

Teach Organizational Strategies

• use of calendars, assignment logs

• establish a daily schedule for homework, jobss around the house, TV, viewing, internet access

• budgeting of time for short and long term assignments (time lines, study plans)

• use of agenda books for keeping track of assignments, materials needed C use of checklists for homework

• use of checklists for materials needed for each class

• use color coding for material and notebooks relating to each subject

• develop a system for organizing desk, locker, binders

• provide a tool kit so that student has pencils, pens, erasers, compass in one place

• problem-solve around what organizational strategies work/do not work

• monitor these strategies, but encourage the student to take control of them him/herself

The One, Two, Three method of discipline is very effective. The child receives two warnings when they are breaking the established rules of the classroom or home. With the third warning, they are given a time out. My time outs consist of isolation within the classroom for five minutes ore removal from the classroom for five minutes. There should be an established time out zone where the child knows to go. When the child returns to class, the problem has passed, the class is back to work and the student can have a fresh start. The ADHD student must be given a fresh start after each incident. The teacher or parent cannot add up the incidents and hold them against the child. Once the One, Two, Three method is established, the child will rarely pass two.

The first tracking system I use with my students is a Daily Behaviour Tracking Sheet. This sheet lists the positive behaviours that I would like to see the student exhibit. I grade the student, out of five, for each of the behaviours with one being poor and five being perfect. I sign the sheeet and the parent of the student must also sign the sheet. If the student shows significant improvements in behaviour, he/she will receive a bonus buck.

The second tracking system I use is a Homework Tracking Sheet. The sheet lists the students homework for the evening in my class and the parent must sign it. The school in which I teach also uses this tracking system for all the students classes. The third tracking system I use is based on student/teacher interviews. It is important to try to create a positive relationship between the ADHD student and teacher and short meetings are one way in which to do this. The purpose of these meetings is firstly, to create a relationship; secondly, to ask the student what methods other teachers have used that have worked for him/her; and thirdly, to evaluate the methods currently being used.

All the strategies above are approaches that I use continually with my ADHD students. These systems are ongoing and constant. My Bonus Buck system is highly effective and always gives me the results I want. Eye contact, repetition, cueing and phasing of activities are tactics I utilise when teaching. Establishing some sort of organisation at the beginning of the school year and maintaining it throughout the year pays off for my students and myself. The One, Two, Three method is my preferred method of discipline and is very effective with the ADHD student. The three tracking systems I employ allow me to evaluate all my others procedures and change them as necessary. These practical strategies will allow parents and teachers to have more positive interactions with ADHD teachers.

Attention Deficit Disorder

• General Instructional Practices and Adaptations

• give frequent positive feedback

• provide supervision/check homework

• monitor getting started; check in with frequently

• uses cue to get attention

• make eye contact

• use high interest, interactive learning

• seat away from distractions assign two seats

• keep instructions brief and simple use visuals to support; highlight written directions

• divide work into smaller segments; schedule short work periods

• graph grades and results

• have student read material aloud

• keep rules simple and clear and remind student of consequences

• provide legitimate reasons for moving around (e.g. messenger)

• accept style of studying

• accept variability of performance

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