By Sng Sze Ying - Educational Therapist

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tiger

“ARE YOUR ADHD STUDENTS VERY ACTIVE?”

“HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO SIT STILL?”


These are the first few questions people usually ask me when I tell them that I deal with a variety of profiles in my classroom - dyslexia, ADHD, Global Developmental Delay (GDD).

INATTENTIVE... HYPERACTIVE... RESTLESS... IMPULSIVE... BOUNCY... DISORGANISED...

These are the words used to describe Tigger - who seems to epitomise the classic ADHD type in the Winnie the Pooh story.  I had read somewhere before that the characters in the children’s story aptly represent the different types of ADHD commonly found in affected individuals. What’s more, Tigger’s characteristic feature in the story is to bounce! How true are all these descriptions? The American Psychological Association (2013) defines ADHD as a brain disorder that is marked by persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity. These patterns are due to significant deficits in executive functioning, which are cognitive abilities necessary for self-regulation, and executing and adjusting of goal-directed behaviour (2). This explains why students with ADHD tend to exhibit the above traits, as they find difficulties in sustaining attention, planning, organizing, remembering and maintaining self-control.

How do these deficits manifest themselves in the classroom?

Do all ADHD students exhibit the same symptoms and in the same extent?  Yes and No.

In my time at DAS as an educational therapist, I have taught various students diagnosed with ADHD. If there’s anything I have gleaned from teaching children with these conditions, it would be that every child is different. Their learning styles, temperaments, likes and dislikes, and the extent of the behavioural traits mentioned above vary from child to child too. 

Teaching children with behaviour issues is a journey for both the student and the teacher. (The full article contains a case study)

My student, amidst all his turbulent moods and emotions, is a child who had the ability to reflect. The time spent talking with him was, in my opinion, crucial in building rapport with him as he also learnt to understand me and my concerns as his teacher.   Perhaps this quote by Janet Lansbury, a parenting educator, aptly describes my learning experience as a Special Needs teacher:


“In my world, there are no bad kids, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with emotions and impulses and trying to communicate their feelings and needs the only way they know how.”

 

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This article was published in FACETS Vol 1 2019 read it here!