10 Behaviour Management Tips For Children With ADHD

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How much do you know about ADHD?

ADHD is an abbreviation for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is sometimes referred to as ADD and it is a common disorder that can impact upon focus, impulse control and emotional regulation.

ADHD is not all about hyperactivity and fidgeting. Children with ADHD may often appear in their own world. ADHD is not simply a condition that affects children the they will simply outgrow, many of those who have an ADHD diagnosis have symptoms that will persist into adulthood. It is also one of many other conditions that they may have.

The NHS clarifies that working with and looking after a child with ADHD can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that they cannot help their behaviour.

Symptoms of ADHD

Many children that have ADHD will struggle with:

  • Following directions
  • Working memory (keeping things in mind)
  • Regulating emotion
  • All aspects of organisation
  • Changing focus
  • Thinking before saying or doing things
  • Time management
  • Starting tasks

Supporting a student with ADHD in your classroom is challenging and demanding of your time, energy and expertise. With regular interruptions, need for repeated instructions and close supervision, managing pupils can be demanding.

Children with ADHD have the best chance of success with teachers who:

Are flexible Follow clear routines Are consistent Provide a range of activities
Recognise and support individuality Maintain a positive teaching environment Present information and tasks in steps Set firm limits on student behaviour

10 Tips For Managing ADHD

1. Clear rules and expectations

Children with ADHD need regular reminders of the classroom rules so set clear targets for behaviour and re-cap them at the end.

2. Strategic praise

Recognition of making the right choices will serve as a regular reminder of behaviour expectations for a child with ADHD. Positive attention is powerful – “Catch them being good.”

3. Immediate or short-term rewards and consequences

Children with ADHD will benefit from immediate feedback for desired behaviours and likewise clear and proportionate consequences. Negative consequences such as time out, removal of privileges or removing the child from a situation will not have the desired effect if delayed.

4. Be persistent and consistent

You may want immediate results, but that’s not likely. It can take months to see significant progress. A child with ADHD may be used to adult frustration and rejection. When the boundaries are consistently applied the child will learn that you are in it for the long run and the relationship will form.

5. Establish routines

Children with ADHD get bored with routines but need them desperately, routines may include visual timetables on the desk and prior warning when the daily routine is going to alter.

6. Create clear plans and checklists for lessons and unstructured activities

Write these on their desks. The child will benefit from seeing the activities ticked off and will feel a sense of accomplishment which also builds resilience in the learning environment.

7. Use timers

Timers are great for setting activities and movement breaks. They also limit teacher talk which a child with ADHD may not be able to sustain focus on.

8. Reward going above and beyond

Ensure that children have a personalised reward of their choice for completing their work or helping others in the classroom. This may be in the form of praise, a positive phone call home or a postcard.

9. Plan your learning environment

Students with ADHD benefit from the learning environment having minimal distractions. This is often a balancing act as other children may benefit from the stimuli. Student and parent voice will help to establish the ideal environment for the child to access the learning.

10. Empower

Allowing a child with ADHD to feel empowered in their classroom is a helpful step. Ask them where and how they think they will learn best. This may include being sat near the teacher, with another child who will act as a positive role model, at the back of the room to minimise turning around or away from doors and windows.

The promotion of self-regulation should be encouraged too. This can be achieved through a time-out card and identifying a safe-space when the classroom becomes overstimulating or when the child feels dysregulated.

Remember that ADHD is a spectrum condition that needs medical diagnosis as it classed as a disability. Schools should make reasonable adjustments for a child’s needs. If you require further support in the classroom ensure that you work with your school’s SENDCO and relevant agencies that support the child.

Daisy-May Lewis

Daisy is Head of KS3 and mental health lead in a Secondary School for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs. She is a Religious Studies subject specialist but currently delivers a range of subjects including: English, PSHE, Citizenship, History, Geography and Philosophy. Her educational passions are: developing behaviour strategies for disengaged learners, mental health and wellbeing of both staff and students, ethical leadership and supporting NQTs.

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