By: Jamilah Rowe, owner of Geeked Up Educational Services LLC
If homeschooling your child for the first time isn’t enough, having a child with a disability that impairs their ability to learn only challenges your efforts. Students with disabilities face many challenges in the classroom. Often, they display behaviors that impede their academic progress and cause disruptions for themselves, the teachers and other students.
Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD face significant learning challenges due to their inability to attend for long periods of time and the inability to feed their need for movement. ADHD may manifest in your child’s classroom behavior in a variety of ways as a result of the academic demands in school. Some of behaviors your child with ADHD may display are:
- Lack of focus
- Hyperactivity (running, climbing, jumping, fidgeting in the seat)
- Emotional/Physical outbursts (anger, frustration, crying)
- Easily frustrated
As a result of these behaviors, teachers employ a variety of strategies to engage students in learning. The following is a list of strategies and supports to assist with homeschooling your child with ADHD.
- Reduce, and if possible, eliminate all distractions from the environment that the student will be learning in.
- Consider using essential oils (i.e. lavender) to add calming elements to the learning environment.
- Play soft music in the background (i.e. jazz instrumentals).
- Create and display a daily schedule that students can reference. This reduce anxiety.
- Ensure the student is seated in a place where distractions are reduced/eliminated.
- Create a reward system to serve as an incentive their behaviors at home. (the system so be similar to earning money/toys/time on video game/outside for completing tasks and displaying appropriate behaviors in the home)
- Allow students to complete their work in smaller time frames (no more than 20 mins at a time)
- Create a schedule for students to follow each day. This will eliminate any anxiety they may have about the day’s tasks.
- Create opportunities for movement. Students have a better time retaining information when they can pair a physical activity with it. (i.e. skip count while doing jumping jacks, hopscotch with sight words/vocabulary)
- Use graphic organizers to help them organize information on paper (see Attachment Examples)
- Review concepts/work from the day before, they benefit from repetition.
- Reinforce readings with pictures where appropriate and possible. Find real world examples for students to connect to
- Provide with multiple breaks (3-5mins) during instructional periods when you notice their frustration level is rising.
- Create a token system that allows them to earn tangible rewards at the end of the week. (as parents you all can select items that are way more enticing than what teachers can offer 😊)
- Use a timer to help students transition between tasks.
- Allow students an opportunity to move around. (i.e. walk around while reading aloud, jumping jacks while saying multiplication facts)
- Permit students to hold a small toy in their hands as they complete reading tasks
- Allow student to use color pencils to write spelling and vocabulary words and to. Having to swap colors allows them opportunities to move with minimal disruption.
- Create opportunities for students to have physical play time. This will exhaust some of their energy and increase their focus during instructional times.
- Reduce the amount of candy, juice, and soda they consume prior to instructional times to support increased focus and reduce hyperactivity.
Jamilah Rowe MEd is a special educator for Baltimore City Public Schools and advocate for all children with special learning needs. Jamilah is passionate about the growth and development of children with disabilities and strives to eliminate any barriers that may exist between and child and their potential.
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