As a child, I had a condition known as ADHD. And I still do. This condition can make it hard to focus and keep your attention where it’s supposed to be. It’s easy to become distracted, to forget, or to have trouble following directions or sticking with something as difficult and complex as learning to read. It can seem impossible to sit still and “behave.” (Wood, 2009)
A bunch of doctors say there are 3 types of ADHD: 1.Predominantly Inattentive Type 2.Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type 3.Combined Type (American Psychiatric Association, 2000)
I hated being cooped up indoors. I hated sitting still. My desk felt like jail. I couldn’t wait for summer, when I could be… (Wood, 2009)
I’m a MOVER. My motor runs a little higher than most other kids’. That means it’s harder for me to sit still and pay attention. I can’t sit in one place for very long. My body needs to move. My hands need to be busy. I have a hard time listening only to my teacher. I used to find things on the floor or on the wall to touch and play with. (Veenendall, 2008)
Mom and Dad wanted to help me, so they took me to a special doctor. The doctor said that the problems I was having were not my fault. She said that when kids have ADHD their brains just work a little differently from most other kids’. (Kraus, 2005) She said it’s like having a car with a gas pedal stuck on “go.”
I found out that I get too close to kids’ faces sometimes, and they don’t like that. My talking doctor told me to pretend that there is an invisible square drawn around other kids to remind me to step back when I am talking to them. It’s called their body space. It worked! My teacher and I set daily goals for me. At the end of the day we talk about the progress I made. (Kraus, 2005)
When it’s hard for me to sit still in my desk… sometimes I sit on a big ball instead of a chair. Once in a while I stand to do my work. My teachers say that’s okay. During listening times, I hold a “fidget.” It’s a hand tool. (Veenendall, 2008)
If you’re struggling, consider medication. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t work, then you can just stop taking it (talk to your Mom & Dad first though). Of course, medication is not a magic bullet. You may still have some major challenges. Zeigler Dendy & Zeigler, 2003 ( Zeigler Dendy & Zeigler, 2003 )
Other things I can do in class: Keep my IEP updated (Zeigler Dendy & Zeigler, 2003) Keep my IEP updated (Zeigler Dendy & Zeigler, 2003) Take work breaks (Kraus, 2005) Take work breaks (Kraus, 2005) Let the teacher check my work often (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Let the teacher check my work often (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Stick to daily routine (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Stick to daily routine (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Break up lesson into mini lessons (Gavigan, 2009) Break up lesson into mini lessons (Gavigan, 2009) Look for additional instruction (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Look for additional instruction (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Sit in a quiet area not by windows (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Sit in a quiet area not by windows (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Use pictures & visual aides (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Use pictures & visual aides (Hallahan, et al., 2009) Use “hands on approach” (Gavigan, 2009) Use “hands on approach” (Gavigan, 2009) Use a computer that is isolated (Gavigan, 2009) Use a computer that is isolated (Gavigan, 2009) Exercise and stretch with the class (Veenendall, 2008) Exercise and stretch with the class (Veenendall, 2008) Use a good friend to remind me to pay attention (Zeigler Dendy& Zeigler, 2003) Use a good friend to remind me to pay attention (Zeigler Dendy& Zeigler, 2003) Practice self monitoring (CDI, n.d.) Practice self monitoring (CDI, n.d.) Keep my hands busy (Zeigler Dendy & Zeigler, 2003) Keep my hands busy (Zeigler Dendy & Zeigler, 2003)
Pros & Cons for inclusion For the most part I manage okay in a general classroom. Sometimes I annoy my teacher by not paying attention, but we work together to make it better. I also stay after school sometimes to get private tutoring (Wood, 2009). Sometimes other kids get distracted by my classroom tools, and they think I get special treatment, but my friends understand (Veenendall, 2008). I also learned that when I see kids laughing, it doesn’t mean they are laughing at me, so I don’t get mad at them anymore. (Kraus, 2005).
…back to my early childhood diagnosis. …this was before ADD/ADHD and dyslexia were household terms. It was not a gentle diagnosis. The doctor was convinced that because I had tested very poorly across the board she was forced to diagnose me with… MBD.MinimalBrainDysfunction!!!!! (Nichols, 2009) Look, I will never be a neat person-it’s just not in the cards- but I can be a functioning person. Reflections on the stigma of labels:
natural part of life... Mistakes are a natural part of life... Nowadays doctors, teachers and counselors know much more about ADHD and how to help people cope with it. Medications may even be carefully prescribed and take, though I have chosen not to take any. Scholars suggest that many creative and productive people throughout history may have had ADHD, including Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison and others. (Wood, 2009) We learn by experimenting: mistakes and failure can be important parts of our learning process. Einstein had difficulty in school. Edison tried over 9,000 kinds of filaments before he found one that would work in a light bulb. Walt Disney went bankrupt five times before he built Disneyland. If we accept our setbacks, we can continue to risk, learn and move on with excitement and satisfaction. Final words from the “survivors” (Nichols, 2009)
References : American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., rev.). Washington, DC: Author. Brooks, R. & GoldStein, S. (2001). Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child. New York: McGraw-Hill Child Development Institute. (n.d.) Suggested Classroom Interventions for Children with ADD & Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from: http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/learning/teacher.shtml Gavigan, K. (2009, April 28). Classroom Adaptations for Students with ADHD. Associated Content. Retrieved from: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1673761/classroom_adaptations_for_students.html?cat=72 Hallahan, D, Kauffman, J., & Pullen, P. (2009). Exceptional Learners, an introduction to special education. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Kraus, J. (2005). Cory Stories, A Kid’s Book About Living with ADHD. Washington: Magination Press. Nichols, J. (2009). Trainwreck, My Life as an Idoit. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc. Veenendall, J. (2008). Arnie and His School Tools, Simple Sensory Solutions That Build Success. Shawnee Mission: Autism Asperger Publishing. Wood, D. (2009). Miss Little’s Gift. Somerville: Candlewick Press. Zeigler, A. & Zeigler Dendy, C.A. (2003). A Bird’s-Eye View of life with ADD and ADHD: Advice From young Survivors. Cedar Bluff: Cherish the Children.
Credits: Nancy, 19?? Photos for slides 2-13, 16 & 17 Samantha, 2010 Photos for slides 14-15 & 18-19 Mason, 2010 “Model” for slides 6-13 & 15-17 James, 19?? Editor