When people think of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), they often think of the common symptoms of the condition, including inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. But this list of symptoms doesn’t tell the whole story. Sean Castle, a senior educator with over 20 years’ experience, looks at ways to help parents with children with ADHD achieve in school.
Sean Castle points out that the fact is, children who have ADHD, also referred to as ADD, often share a number of beneficial traits that can potentially contribute to their success, both in school and in the workplace. He says that ADHD students are often extremely creative, curious, passionate, and energetic—all attributes of successful entrepreneurs and inventors. Sean Castle highlights some of the highest achievers on recent history had ADHD. These include Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, John Lennon,Mozart, Winston Churchill. Henry Ford, Stephen Hawking, Jules Verne, Alexander Graham Bell and Woodrow Wilson.
The key to helping students with ADHD succeed, Sean Castle says, is to remember that they are individuals, with individual strengths and challenges. Instead of seeing their unique traits as problems to be suppressed, celebrate their differences, and discover their strengths.
Keeping that in mind, here are some strategies that can be helpful for children with ADHD.
Allow Exploration of Interests is a positive thing for many ADHD students who will be interested in a variety of subjects and want to learn more. Allowing them to explore these areas and discover their strengths will be helpful to their confidence and their eventual career aspirations. Sean Castle says it is important to remember to embrace Your Child’s Strengths. He says that while ADHD students may have trouble focusing on subjects that don’t hold their interest, they tend to excel at their strengths. Once you’ve determined what those strengths are, be sure to encourage your student to pursue the areas that most interest him or her. Facilitating the best learning model, according to Sean Castle, is key. He says that while trouble focusing can be a challenge for many ADHD students, others also tend to hyperfocus on a topic and, therefore, are not ready to leave a particular subject. Either tendency can be a problem in a brick-and-mortar school. Online learning can be an excellent alternative for such students because it allows them to focus on one subject for as long as they need, moving on to another subject when they lose interest or keeping with a subject for a longer period if they are hyper focused on it.
And remember to ensure frequent breaks Sean Castle adds that for students with attention issues, taking breaks is important, whether in school or with homework. He suggests breaking school time into 30-minute intervals with five-minute breaks in between. The breaks can also be a motivation to help students stay on track. “It is best to use a visual timer that will sound when the break ends,” The breaks can also include a planned activity such as having a snack or walking the dog. That way, the child can have something to look forward to after learning.