As distance learners who live with the disorder know, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can make academic learning a challenge.
In a webinar hosted by the National Resource Center on ADHD, Sandra Rief, MA and author of How to Reach & Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, notes that the disorder impacts the executive functions of the brain. Ultimately, it impacts an individual's ability to:
– be flexible
– manage time
– control impulses
– initiate task completion
– organize, plan, and prioritize
– retain and reapply information
– regulate emotions and motivation
Though there is no cure for ADHD, Rief highlights several ways that educators and parents can help students with the disorder succeed. She stresses the importance of engaging lessons, flexible and committed instructors, and good communication between parents, teachers, and health professionals who participate in the education of children with ADHD. AOA's online program features several benefits that help distance learning families achieve these goals:
– We offer hands-on lessons in multiple formats to help families tailor learning to their student's unique needs.
– Committed to partnering with your family, our caring, qualified instructors recognize communication as key to academic success.
Distance learning also allows students to work at their own pace, a huge perk for students with ADHD, who can take two to four times longer to complete schoolwork than their peers.
Educators highlighted in the March 2014 issue of District Administration Magazine, as well as Rief, identify several additional methods used by classroom teachers to help students with ADHD focus in school. Presented for use in the classroom, some of the suggestions may work well for distance learners when applied by parents at home:
– Create a structured and organized work environment free of distractions.
– Let your student sit on an exercise ball to keep the body engaged and increase the attention span.
– Allow your student to expend energy during occasional exercise breaks.
– Integrate student interests into lessons; if your learner likes animals, incorporate the topic into a reading or writing assignment.
– Set short-term goals to help your student achieve long-term goals.
– Provide regular, positive reinforcement for desired work and behavior.
– Set aside time to develop executive function skills to make studying easier.
It's important to note that only health care professionals can diagnose ADHD. While there is no cure, a family doctor, psychologist, or other professional can provide diagnosis and treatment, which may include a combination of medication, behavior or cognitive training, coaching, support groups, and more.
For additional information about ADHD, checkout the resources listed below:
– Understanding ADHD
– ADHD Coaching FAQs
– ADHD Resource Center (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)
– 10 Helpful ADHD Resources (National Center for Learning Disabilities)