Anchored Education is an Online School internationally recognized, offering Kindergarten up to Grade 12. It is known for addressing learning needs of individual learners, also those with learning challenges. Often a child has Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Well-informed parents play a pivotal role in understanding that their children can perform well through online home-based learning.
Without rules and structure, learners with ADHD struggle. Here’s how parent mentors can help.
Tears and tantrums—popular words among parents who’ve taken to social media to describe remote learning for their kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Without the usual support from parents & teachers or the familiarity of classroom rules and structure, the struggle to stay organized and keep up with lessons and homework can become overwhelming.
It’s considered one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, and by mid-elementary and middle school, symptoms can include difficulty starting and completing tasks, restlessness when not engaged in an activity, rushed and messy work, and trouble following multistep directions.
“ADHD affects the entire brain,” says Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, MD, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. “Your brain does not make enough dopamine or epinephrine—chemicals that are important for self-control and self-regulation. So, learners with ADHD can’t regulate their impulses, their attention, their emotions. They struggle and are disorganized with time and money management.”
To support kids with ADHD in elementary and middle school, they need brain and body breaks, chunking lessons into shorter units, as often as possible.
Find Out How Learners Learn Best And Support That.
Lessons that are repetitive and long, requiring sustained mental effort, are difficult for most kids, says Sydney Zentall, a professor emerita of educational studies at Purdue University—but they are especially tough for learners with ADHD who tend to get bored and distracted easily. Incorporating an element of choice can engage learners with ADHD and enable them to sustain attention longer. There’s also research showing that when another activity is introduced that draws on a different sense—say, standing up for a few minutes during a virtual lesson or listening to soft music while working through math problems—it can help focus kids’ brains on the primary task.
Finally, when learners with ADHD are allowed to fidget, they’re able to concentrate better. Annie Preziosi, a special education administrator in a New Orleans K–8 school, likes to remind learners that there many items can easily be found at home and are quiet, so they don’t bother other kids: pipe cleaners, rubber bands, beaded bracelets, clay, a small handball, or paper clips, for example. All these items can help keep kids’ hands busy while they learn.
Support Keeping Track Of Time And Schedules.
Learners with ADHD tend to struggle, setting reminders on their phones about class start times, due dates, and other tasks can help. Sometimes, a simple kitchen timer can help them break up tasks and stay focused for chunks of time. During periods when kids are learning from home, time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique—essentially, setting a timer and focusing on a specific task for 25 minutes, then taking a five-minute break, then returning to the task—can help kids stay steadily productive.
Post-daily schedules in a single, predictable space in your learning management system (LMS), and try not to vary that routine. Ask learners who need extra scaffolding to tape the daily schedule at eye level in their learning space—or if it’s a digital schedule with links, ask them to keep it on their laptop or iPad homepage. If any child starts off class in a panic, they won’t do well in class, and they won’t be ready to learn.
Start With The Big Picture Then Break It Down
Children with ADHD commonly struggle with executive function. Executive functions are the brain’s self-control capacities; they allow us to sustain action and problem-solving toward a goal. A complex, multistep homework assignment without the appropriate scaffolding, for example, can be a major barrier for a child with ADHD. It’s especially important for kids with ADHD to start with the big picture and then move to the small pieces. They need to see the forest, then the trees. Start with the biggest idea first, then specifics. Starting with too much detail is overwhelming for kids with ADHD.
Build In Brain And Body Breaks
Build in regular movement breaks for learners with ADHD by asking them to complete specific tasks like gathering lesson materials and tools, using the bathroom, or getting a drink. When kids return to online class, get them back into the flow with breathing exercises, helping them settle down and prepare for learning.
By Katy Reckdahl, Edutopia, November 12, 2020, (condensed)
Looking For Great Online Schooling To Give Your Child The Very Best Chance Of Succeeding?
Anchored Education is an Online School in South Africa that endeavors to promote a viable and credible Online Schooling option from kindergarten to Grade 12. It Offers learners, the best American Online Curriculum as a partner of International Schooling, accredited by Cognia, that enables learners to study abroad and choose their own individual career path.
Anchored Education is truly a global leader in online education, viewing learning as progressive and evolving.
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Reference: Katy Reckdahl, Edutopia, November 12, 2020, (condensed)