Understanding the condition
Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experience difficulties with attention, level of activity and impulse control.
This condition is not caused through “bad parenting”, as we often hear, and the child is not “naughty”. They experience a condition that can present as challenging for others, particularly in the context of school but it is important to remember the child is the one having these experiences, so whilst it may be difficult as teachers, they experience their difficulties 24/7 and have no off switch.
Your student may experience the following difficulties in class:
Inattentiveness such as difficulties listening, not able to follow instructions, easily distracted, “daydreaming”, not able to finish tasks, forgetting or loosing things and getting easily bored.
Overactivity such as fidgeting, leaving their seat without permission, moving quickly and forcefully.
Impulsivity such as finding it difficult to wait, interrupting or attempting to control conversation, find it difficult resisting temptation or taking turns, have little or no sense of danger and blurting out answers before questions are completed.
Children with ADHD often experience behavioural problems (tantrums) or more serious behavioural disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. Behaviour problems can often develop as children get older and can be more persistent in one setting such as school if a child is struggling to “keep up” with tasks or finding it difficult to engage in activities.
Some children with ADHD may experience social or communication difficulties, repetitive behaviours and anxiety disorder which can result in depression.
Challenges faced by students
For a child with ADHD engaging in education can be challenging and as a result can often result in low educational attainment and exclusions. As children become older and experience poor impulse control, they can socially isolate themselves from family and peers causing low self-esteem.
As a vulnerable person they are more likely to be victim to others influence particularly if it gives them a sense of belonging so may find themselves involved in substance misuse, gangs or other criminal activity. This is certainly not the case for every child or young person with ADHD but is a risk and as a vulnerable person they need teachers, families/carers and any other professionals working with them to take a holistic approach and to identify potential risks.
To find out how to positively support a child with ADHD in your class, please click here.