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Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Disorder

Part 2



Council for Exceptional Children, Reston, Va. and ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children, Reston, Va.


Defining Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Undifferentiated Attention Deficit Disorder

Establishing The Proper Learning Environment

Giving Instructions To Students With ADD

Giving Assignments

Modifying Behavior And Enhancing Self-Esteem

Other Educational Recommendations



Learning and Other Disabilities

Education and Kids

Related Articles

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (from NICHCY)

Students with Attention Deficit Disorder (from HEATH Resource Center)

Diet Therapy For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (from Feingold Assoc.)

Attention Deficit - Hyperactivity Disorder A Guide for Parents (from LDA)

Back to Part 1

Modifying Behavior And Enhancing Self-Esteem

Providing Supervision and Discipline:

  • Remain calm, state the infraction of the rule, and avoid debating or arguing with the student.

  • Have preestablished consequences for misbehavior.

  • Administer consequences immediately, and monitor proper behavior frequently.

  • Enforce classroom rules consistently.

  • Make sure the discipline fits the "crime," without harshness.

  • Avoid ridicule and criticism. Remember, children with ADD have difficulty staying in control.

  • Avoid publicly reminding students on medication to "take their medicine."

Providing Encouragement:

  • Reward more than you punish, in order to build self-esteem.

  • Praise immediately any and all good behavior and performance.

  • Change rewards if they are not effective in motivating behavioral change.

  • Find ways to encourage the child.

  • Teach the child to reward himself or herself. Encourage positive self-talk (e.g., "You did very well remaining in your seat today. How do you feel about that?"). This encourages the child to think positively about himself or herself.

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Other Educational Recommendations

Educational, psychological, and/or neurological testing to determine learning style and cognitive ability and to rule out any learning disabilities (common in about 30% of students with ADD).

A private tutor and/or peer tutoring at school.

A class that has a low student-teacher ratio.

Social skills training and organizational skills training.

Training in cognitive restructuring (positive "self-talk," e.g., "I did that well.").

Use of a word processor or computer for schoolwork.

Individualized activities that are mildly competitive or noncompetitive such as bowling, walking, swimming, jogging, biking, karate. (Note: Children with ADD may do less well than their peers in team sports.)

Involvement in social activities such as scouting, church groups, or other youth organizations that help develop social skills and self-esteem.

Allowing children with ADD to play with younger children if that is where they fit in. Many children with ADD have more in common with younger children than with their age-peers. They can still develop valuable social skills from interaction with younger children.

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American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed., rev.) (DSM-III-R). Washington, DC: APA.

Suggested Reading

Barkley, R. (1981). Hyperactive children. New York: Guilford.

Canter, L., & Canter, M. (1982). Assertive discipline for parents. Santa Monica, CA: Canter & Associates.

Friedman, R. (1987). Attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity. Danville, IL: Interstate Printers and Publishers.

O'Brien, M. (1986). Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity: A review. Journal of Special Education, 20(3), 281-297.

Parker, H. (1988). The ADD hyperactivity workbook for parents, teachers, and kids. Plantation, FL: Impact Publications.

Phelan, T. ADD-hyperactivity. Carol Stream, IL: Author.

Silver, L. (1984). The misunderstood child. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wender, P. (1987). The hyperactive child, adolescent and adult. New York: Oxford University Press.

For more information on ADD, write to:

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder
1859 North Pine Island Road
Suite 185
Plantation, FL 33322
(305) 587-3700

Contact your local school psychologist, examiner, or personnel in charge of assessment and diagnosis in your school district for specific information and local programs.

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This publication was prepared with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, under contract no. RI88062207. The opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI or the Department of Education.

ED313868 89 ERIC EC Digest #462.

This digest was created by ERIC, the educational resources information center. For more information about ERIC, contact access eric 1-800-let-ERIC


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