Ideas for Teaching Children with ADHD & Autism. Marion Pusey Partner in Avid Autism Advocates, L.L.C.Top Contributor.
Ideas for Teaching Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism By Leah Davies, M.Ed.
Teaching Children with ADHD & Autism
The following list may assist teachers who work with students with ADHD and Autism.
1. Understand the struggle a student with ADHD and Autism has and provide an ordered, safe, predictable classroom environment.
2. Establish a courteous, working relationship with the student’s parents. Learn about their child’s strengths, weaknesses, interests and achievements outside of school. Ask what teaching methods have been most effective with their child. Communicate often and send encouraging notes home.
3. Make time to speak to the student individually. Be respectful and express interest in his or her success in school by asking how he or she learns best.
4. Decide together on a sign or a code that you can use to remind the child to be on task. For example, make eye contact and touch your ear or pick up a particular object. Or, you could hold up one or two fingers.
5. Make classroom rules clear and concise. Discuss them orally and post them for easy reference. Explain the consequences for misbehavior in understandable terms and enforce them consistently. Avoid power struggles.
6. Use a point system, tokens, stars, or other methods to reinforce appropriate behaviors.
7. Notice and provide feedback on any improvement in the areas of behavior and academics. Avoid criticizing the child in front of others.
8. Give directions in simple, concrete terms. Simplify instructions, tasks and assignments. Have the child complete one step before introducing the second step.
9. Divide lessons into relatively short segments and use a variety of teaching aids such as films, tapes, computer programs and small group work to reinforce the child’s learning.
10. Provide the student opportunities to display his or her skills, talents and/or leadership ability.
11. Prepare for transitions by providing a warning when a change is to occur. Turning lights off and then back on may be a helpful cue.
12. Have all of the students stand and stretch, run in place, or do an exercise or movement activity when deemed necessary.
13. Color code paper for each subject. If available use off white, tan or light blue colored paper for written assignments.
14. Create schedules, outlines, lists, and/or a homework assignment book to help the student keep organized as well as to increase home/school communication. Tape a copy of the class schedule to the child’s desk.
15. Modify required homework to accommodate students who are severely impacted with ADHD and Autism.
16. Pause before asking questions or ask the inattentive child a question to gain his or her focus. Use the student’s name or interests in neutral ways during discussions.
17. Tap the place in the child’s book that is being read to help him or her stay on task.
18. Seat the child with ADHD or Autism in close proximity to you and in the area that has the least amount of distractions and stimulation.
19. Watch for signs of increasing stress. You may want to reduce the workload or provide an opportunity for the child to release some energy. For example, have the student deliver an “important letter” in a sealed envelope to another teacher or school secretary who understands the child’s need to move.
20. Provide opportunities for physical activity. Choose the hyperactive child to hand out papers or do other classroom jobs that can help release pent up energy and contribute to his or her feeling of self-worth.
21. Allow a student who seems to be sensitive to fluorescent light to wear a visor or baseball cap in class. Turn off the group of lights nearest the windows or dim the classroom lights.
22. Provide a cubicle or quiet area for the student with ADHD or Autism to use when overwhelmed by classroom activity.
23. Encourage sensitivity as the child interacts with peers.24. Have older students or volunteer parents serve as tutors for these students.
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