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Teaching children with ADHD

ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is recognized by problems with inattentiveness and hyperactivity, in combination. ADHD is a condition that afflicts close to 10% of children. For a long time it was disputed whether the condition had physiological roots, but researchers now believe they have identified a genetic basis for ADHD.

What this means to teachers is that it is very likely that there is at least several ADHD children in every one of their classes, on average! So knowing how to look after these distracted, hyperactive children, while not neglecting their other duties and the rest of the class is something that is a high priority and challenge for every teacher.

Symptoms generally appear around the age of 7 or Grade 2. About 40% of children with ADHD develop coping methods and are able to learn how to live with it, while the other 60% continues to be affected into adulthood.

When a teacher feels a child may have ADHD, intervention is called for. This may begin with the school but inevitably will include the parents and a variety of specialists. In many cases the parents themselves need education about the condition and it is not uncommon for teachers to face some hostility or denial from parents, many of whom may suffer from a similar condition themselves, possibly without realizing it.

A variety of approaches are available to help children with ADHD. A collaborative relationship between home and school, strategies for behaviour and classroom management, certain medications and diet changes are all tools available to help in managing students with ADHD.

All of this raises some very real challenges for teachers. It can become a test of a career to find professional ways to approach the problem of ADHD children in your classroom. Yet some teachers refer to their ADHD students as special, children who add life and energy to the classroom. These teachers have found that beneath the distracted, bouncing-off-the-walls exterior, ADHD kids are reaching out to them for reassurance and there are ways to fulfill those needs and bring them on board.

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