Help Nikhil to learn better, ADHD: Guiding the way to inclusion

Posted : 14-Dec-2017

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

Hi Readers! Do you remember the topic of "Dyslexia" in our previous post where we have identified how the disorder can be effectively managed with special care and sensible mentoring? Today, we shall address yet another major disorder; ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and try to understand how teaching students with ADHD can be both challenging and rewarding, but before we dive into the strategies of teaching let’s know and understand how it’s like to learn in perspective to a student’s cognitive disability.


Here I would like to introduce my 14-year-old nephew Nikhil – A typical teenage boy with a ball of energy. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder, and possibly he also has Asperger’s Syndrome which means that he is as smart as other kids of his age but struggles with social interaction skills. Sadly, when he was only 4 years old teachers said he had serious behavioral problems. Nikhil, found difficulty to focus, combative and was unable to follow direction. The school thought of shifting him to a specialized institution, but in the end, an individualized plan was developed to keep him in the mainstream education.


But, sometimes diagnosis and a transformation plan do not work that effectively, in case of my nephew, he was often misunderstood and faced a hard time communicating and making friends. On many occasions, the teachers didn’t understand how to teach him and were left to his own devices many a time.

Regrettably, Nikhil’s story is not an exception, according to The World Health Organisation 25 percent of the global population have some form of cognitive disability. The list ranges from dyslexia and reading comprehension challenges to autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, PTSD, and even depression and anxiety disorders.

Awareness is the need for the hour, Nikhil’s experience could be better improved if we as parents, educators work together with facts and techniques for teaching children struggling with ADHD.


We have found seven key things to understand ADHD better:

  • Kids with ADHD struggle to remember long strings of sequential instructions. So, as an educator, if you are in a face to face scenario deliver clear and succinct information. In an online environment clearly, define the steps to take by breaking up things for them, it helps!


  • Allow ADHD students with more free time and personal space, let them wander around, daydream to an extent and not worry about the task. By doing this you can help them to focus and stay engaged for the rest of the day.


  • Sit with them and develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). They would be more likely to work hard and meet their objectives when they are given with some ownership over their learning, likely they will not disappoint you!


  • There are certain coping methods for kids with ADHD such as fidgeting, pacing, bouncing in place, etc. these are because they often tend to distract other students. Allow them to retain knowledge while involving them in such activities rather than forcing them to sit still.


  • Create an awareness among other students as ADHD is often misunderstood, it can create a sense of separation. Awareness may lead to positive social interactions in the classroom.


  • Did you remember we had a conversation with Kinesthetic learners? Build content and instruction that engages as many as senses as possible. Because most of the time learning takes place effectively by carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.


By implementing these structures of teaching managing an ADHD student can be more fruitful. The best part is that by adopting such techniques the overall student’s engagement will be inclusive and will create a holistic learning environment.   




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