Alternative Mental Health Community

Behavioral Management for ADHD Children in the Classroom

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In-depth coverage of typical classroom behavioral management procedures for students with ADHD.

These procedures for managing behaviors difficulties are arranged in order from mildest and least restrictive to more intensive and most restrictive procedures. Some of these programs may be included in 504 plans or Individualized Educational Programs for children with AD/HD. Typically, an intervention is individualized and consists of several components based on the child's needs, classroom resources, and the teacher's skills and preferences.

1. Classroom rules and structure

Use classroom rules such as:

  • Be respectful of others.
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  • Obey adults.
  • Work quietly.
  • Stay in assigned seat/area.
  • Use materials appropriately.
  • Raise hand to speak or ask for help.
  • Stay on task and complete assignments.
  • Post the rules and review them before each class until learned.
  • Make rules objective and measurable.
  • Tailor the number of rules to developmental level.
  • Establish a predictable environment.
  • Enhance children?s organization (folders/charts for work).
  • Evaluate rule-following and give feedback/consequences consistently.
  • Tailor the frequency of feedback to developmental level.

2. Praise of appropriate behaviors and choosing battles carefully

  • Ignore mild inappropriate behaviors that are not reinforced by peer attention.
  • Use at least five times as many praises as negative comments.
  • Use commands/reprimands to cue positive comments for children who are behaving appropriately ? that is, find children who can be praised each time a reprimand or command is given to a child who is misbehaving.

3. Appropriate commands and reprimands

  • Use clear, specific commands.
  • Give private reprimands at the child's desk as much as possible.
  • Reprimands should be brief, clear, neutral in tone, and as immediate as possible.

4. Individual accommodations and structure for the child with ADHD

  • Structure the classroom to maximize the child's success.
  • Place the student's desk near the teacher to facilitate monitoring.
  • Enlist a peer to help the student copy assignments from the board.
  • Break assignments into small chunks.
  • Give frequent and immediate feedback.
  • Require corrections before new work is given.

5. Proactive interventions to increase academic performance -- Such interventions can prevent problematic behavior from occurring and can be implemented by individuals other than the classroom teacher, such as peers or a classroom aide. When disruptive behavior is not the primary problem, these academic interventions can improve behavior significantly.

  • Focus on increasing completion and accuracy of work.
  • Offer task choices.
  • Provide peer tutoring.
  • Consider computer-assisted instruction.