Education FAQs

Students with ADHD benefit from an inclusive educational model where teachers use the latest teaching strategies for students with learning differences. These same instructional practices could be considered best practices for all students in mainstream classrooms.


Currently, classroom interventions for students with ADHD focus on reducing problematic behaviour and increasing task engagement. While these are important goals, reducing disruptive behaviour alone does not ensure learning and academic progress. To achieve this, learning interventions are required, while accommodating and improving cognitive challenges with executive function and processing speed.

Two critical principles;

  1. Reduce the cognitive load of learning tasks and avoid overloading working memory and,
  2. Support and improve executive function through modified instruction.

LADS recognise we do not have all the answers and we are conscious that many of the suggested strategies contained on this website are already known to, and used by many education professionals.   The difficulties associated with translating some of the strategies into practice in a classroom of up to 35 students does not escape consideration. However, investment of time getting to know and understand each individual child with ADHD, often yields positive results for everyone.  Educators and Parents are encouraged to form an effective partnership in order to achieve the best results for the child/ren concerned. 

What is an accommodation

A:

Accommodations or adjustments are changes to teaching and learning environments designed to help equalise access to the curriculum and assessment for students with learning difficulties or disabilities, in comparison to other students. 

The most commonly asked question about accommodations, are related to assessment.  This can include changes in format, response, setting, timing, or scheduling - without changing in any significant way what the test measures or the comparability of scores.

These affect three areas of testing:

  1. the administration of tests,
  2. how students are allowed to respond to the items, and
  3. how the items are presented to the students on the test instrument

The focus is to ensure an assessment measures the intended construct, not the student’s learning difference/disability.  

Accommodations do not alter the content of assignments, give students an unfair advantage or in the case of assessments, change what a test measures. They do make it possible for students with to show what they know without being impeded by their learning differences.

How does a student receive accommodations

A:

Once a student has been formally identified with ADHD / LD, the individual or parent may request accommodations for that student's specific needs.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that a child's IEP (Individualized Education Program) team — which both parent and child are a part of — must decide which accommodations are appropriate. Any appropriate accommodations should be written into a student's IEP.

Here are some examples of possible accommodations for an IEP team to consider, broken into six categories:

  • Presentation:
    • Provide on audio tape
    • Provide in large print
    • Reduce number of items per page or line
    • Provide a designated reader
    • Present instructions orally
  • Response:
    • Allow for verbal responses
    • Allow for answers to be dictated to a scribe
    • Allow the use of a tape recorder to capture responses
    • Permit responses to be given via computer
    • Permit answers to be recorded directly into test booklet
  • Timing:
    • Allow frequent breaks
    • Extend allotted time for a test
  • Setting:
    • Provide preferential seating
    • Provide special lighting or acoustics
    • Provide a space with minimal distractions
    • Administer a test in small group setting
    • Administer a test in private room or alternative test site
  • Test Scheduling
    • Administer a test in several timed sessions or over several days
    • Allow subtests to be taken in a different order
    • Administer a test at a specific time of day
  • Other
    • Provide special test preparation
    • Provide on-task/focusing prompts
    • Provide any reasonable accommodation that a student needs that does not fit under the existing categories
    To develop a powerful partnership it is important to recognise the challenges classroom teachers experience, as well as the lived experience of the parent and diagnosed individual.  

How can I help my students to engage more in learning activities

I need some tips on how to adapt my instructions to help students with ADHD who are having difficulties.

A:
Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Difficulty with...   
Initiating activities • Ensure the student has understood instructions by asking them to repeat it.• List equipment needed for the activity at the student’s work space. 
Planning • Assist the student to make a list of steps needed to get to the goal.• Number the order of steps to be taken. 
Prioritising • Teach problem solving skills by considering pros and cons.• Map goal setting steps in graphic format. 
Persisting • Shorten assignments and work periods; use a timer.• Provide feedback on progress.• Seat the student near a good role model for some of the time. 
Organising • Provide the student with structure for project work and daily routine. 
Doing complex tasks • Set short-term goals in completing assignment.• Use a checklist and chart progress to make it more fun. 
Inhibiting • Ensure class rules are clear and understood.• Praise the student when they follow rules.• Cue the student to note the actions of others. 
Monitoring • List requirements of tasks.• Prompt self-monitoring, e.g., “Let’s look at the instructions again. What do we need to check?” 
Shifting • Provide cues and procedures when changing activities.• Ensure practice and give positive feedback. 
Regulating emotions • Set up a behaviour contract. Support with calming down procedure.• Attend to positive behaviour with praise and avoid criticism.• Prompt helpful self-talk, e.g., “I need to think things through before I act.”• Provide rewards sooner rather than later.

What can I do to support and improve executive function?

 

 

 

A:

Teachers should try to reduce the amount of information students with ADHD have to retain and juggle in their heads:

  • Emphasize direct instruction in specific learning skills
  • Chunk, pause, and repeat critical instructions
  • Use advance organizers, structured note-taking sheets, manipulatives, and visual representations
  • Use teaching/learning strategies such as mnemonics
  • Introduce class-wide peer tutoring

This is a simple list of strategies to get you started.

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