This blog recaps one of my previous about how to help learners with ADHD. This blog includes challenges posed for tutors and teachers who might have learners with ADHD as well as tips for tutors and learners who have ADHD.
ADHD can present the following challenges for tutors and teachers
- Learners require more attention
- Learners have trouble following instructions, especially when presented in a list
- Learners often forget to write down homework assignments as well as completing given work
- Learners may have trouble with operations that require ordered steps, such as long division
or solving equations
- Learners usually have problems with long-term projects where there is no direct supervision
ADHD can affect learners in the following ways
- Low grades
- Teasing from peers
- Low self-esteem.
So what can we do to help and aid these learners with their studies?
Patience, creativity and consistency are three of the most important aspects to take into consideration when tutoring or teaching learners with ADHD. As a tutor or teacher, our job is to evaluate each individual learner’s needs and strengths. We then need to develop our lessons and strategies in accordance with this.
Additionally, one of the most effective ways of helping learners with ADHD is maintaining a positive attitude. Make the learner your partner and say, “Let’s figure out ways together to help you get your work done.” Reassure the learner that you will be looking for good behaviour and quality work. When you see it, support it with prompt and sincere acclaim. Finally, look for ways to motivate a learner by offering rewards (such as a longer break or less homework).
Tips for the Learner
- Sit away from windows and doors so as to minimise distractions
- Move while you work. Constantly moving can help you focus better on the task at hand
- Concentrate on certain words! Studies show that repeating anchor words like “focus” can block distractions
Tips for the Tutor
- Give instructions one at a time and repeat whenever necessary
- Signal the start of a lesson with a cue and in opening the lesson, tell the learner what he or she is going to learn and what your expectations are
- Tell students exactly what materials they’ll need
- Where possible, work on the most difficult material first. This can help to make the most of your session/lesson
- Colour-code sections of material and make use of visuals!
- Test the learner in the way he or she does best, such as orally or filling in blanks
- Divide long-term projects into sections and assign a completion date/goal for each
- Allow the learner to do as much work as possible on a computer
- Make sure the learner has a system for writing down assignments and important dates and uses it!
- Establish eye contact
- Vary the pace and include different kinds of activities. Many students with ADD do well
with competitive games or other activities that are rapid and intense
- Allow for frequent (but short) breaks
- Summarise the key points before finishing the lesson
- Lastly, and most importantly – be patient and understanding
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