Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition and one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually detected in the early years and can persist well into adulthood. Children diagnosed with this condition are prone to having a short attention span, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Consequently, they need to always be on the go without an apparent reason. It may contribute to low self-esteem, troubled relationships and difficulty at school. In the sense that they may not be able to focus and may regularly disrupt the class as well.
To meet the needs of ADHD children, schools in the UAE, Middle East and GCC need to offer specialised teaching methods like behavioural classroom management or organizational training. Behavioural classroom management refers to rewarding positive behaviour and discouraging the negative. Organisational training teaches students time management, planning skills, and ways to keep school materials organized in order to optimize learning. To offer these methods the schools in Dubai would require trained teachers, counsellors and psychologists.
Supervisors of these children with ADHD need to recognise the fact that school work is twice as difficult for them as compared to any other child. Albeit, it does not mean that a child with ADHD is unable to learn. It just means that such children learn differently.
ADHD children are prone to distractions and absentmindedness and to counter this, it is necessary to provide a fixed routine. They must be trained to write things down immediately such as submission deadlines or exam dates. Being consistent will develop a habit that they will grow to rely on. Keep in mind that you may need to reiterate this multiple times. You will find a variety of planner and calendar apps online that will assist ADHD students to keep track of homework and submission deadlines. In addition to planning apps there are also learning apps like Reading Eggs which makes learning to read interesting and engaging for kids, with great online reading games and activities. The matter is self-paced, colourful and completely interactive. The variety of lessons provide repetitive learning in new engaging ways. Students especially with ADHD enjoy these games and learn while they play. They are motivated to return with rewards and leaderboards. Parents too can view their childs progress with a detailed report card.
At home, it is imperative that you again stick to a set routine which helps the child remain on track. Consistency is key. It is essential that the environment be conducive to studying with minimal distractions. Keep fixed study times and breaks in between. Parent involvement is a great motivator for them to actively engage in learning. Going through the work done at the end of the day helps reduce chances of forgotten homework or incomplete assignments.
ADHD children find sitting quietly in class listening to the teacher or reading on their own at length, very challenging. They need to channel their energy and interact with their environment to learn better. They can benefit from short breaks, stretching, and experiential learning allowing them to actively participate in the assigned task. Acting out what they have learnt or addressing an audience will build better recall. Students may also find that listening to audio books while reading text allows them to zip through topics faster as well as maintain their attention.
Finally, it is vital that these children live a healthy lifestyle and eat the correct foods. Refined sugars and fats leave the calmest of children climbing walls and hence we should steer clear of them. A healthy balanced diet with the right amount of exercise are best for overall health and learning too. As with all children, excessive screen time is avoidable as is late nights. Sleep is a powerful tool for recall.
In the end we must bear in mind that although ADHD children may have the best of intentions to study and complete tasks in time, they may still struggle to concentrate and retain what they’re studying. Therefore it is important to be consistent, supportive and patient with them.