ADHD is more common than you think.
According to a CDC screening programme in the United States, approximately 11% of pupils are now thought to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
This means that your class could potentially have 3 pupils who may find it almost impossible to physically sit still and focus their attention on your lessons.
With that in mind, let’s look at the most common misunderstandings about ADHD…
1. ADHD is not caused by…
…bad diet or poor parenting. It’s actually associated with structural and chemical alterations in the brain that children are born with.
2. ADHD is not a condition…
…that’s exclusively diagnosed in boys: girls can be affected too.
Statistically, 13.2% of boys and 5.6% of girls are diagnosed with ADHD. Often, girls are more adept at mimicking social situations or learning rote responses, so their symptoms may be better hidden..
3. Medication does not…
…‘cure’ ADHD – it can merely help to manage the symptoms. (Neither is it true that ADHD medication is a tranquiliser, incidentally).
Medication can have a number of serious side effects that have to be monitored.
4. ADHD does not…
…happen in only one setting. If you have ADHD, it’s a universal feature across all areas of your life: at home, at school, in the supermarket!
5. Teachers cannot…
…make an ADHD diagnosis. (And neither can educational psychologists, for that matter).
But they can both support parents and assist in the diagnostic process by signposting pupils to paediatricians who are qualified to make a medical diagnosis.
Remember: a student doesn’t have to display both inattentiveness and hyperactivity to be considered for an ADHD diagnosis. Many students with ADHD only present one form of the symptoms related to the condition.
Symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms can fall into the ‘inattentiveness’ or ‘hyperactivity’ categories.
- Short attention span
- Easily distracted
- Unable to carry out instructions
- Flitting from task to task
- Difficulty with organisation
- Trouble completing tasks
- Constant fidgeting
- Excessive physical movement
- Excessive talking
- Unable to wait their turn
- No sense of danger
…understanding that ADHD is a genuine, neurological condition that affects how your pupils think and behave is hugely important in working out ways to manage them effectively in your class.
Many of the strategies for helping pupils manage ADHD are designed to improve attention and organisation, so of course they will benefit all of the other children in your class too.