Attention deficit disorder (ADD) causes difficulties in being attentive, focusing, following instructions, finishing activities and interacting with peers. These children are often hyperactive and compulsive. The prevalence of ADD in school going learners is 2%-16%. Teachers often label these children as being ill-mannered or naughty as the learners are often not diagnosed with ADD. It is always a good idea for teachers to suggest for the learner to go for an assessment as parents are not aware that their children may have ADD. This means that with the increase in learners with ADD, it is beneficial for teachers to do research on ADD and the signs of ADD. Some of the signs of ADD that teachers can look out for are making mistakes as the learner overlooked details, being easily distracted, difficulty in listening and following instructions, being disorganised, incomplete school work as well as fidgeting, find it difficult in remaining quiet, constant talking and interrupts others while they’re talking or involved in an activity.
Teachers should although try to be attentive to the child before suggesting that a child’s behaviour may be as a result of ADD. There may even other factors causing the child to behave in that way such as disruptions in their home life, being bullied at school, anxiety, learning disorders, sensory issues and dyslexia. These factors as well as others could be causing the learner to behave in a way that may be seen as ADD but is something else entirely. Schools in South Africa have been placing importance on employing a counsellor for the school. If a school has this facility, it is a good idea for the teacher to refer the child to the counsellor as opposed to labelling the leaner as being “naughty.” The counsellor will be able to make an informed decision on whether the child may have ADD or if other factors are causing the behaviour. The counsellor and the teacher(s) may become an important part of what we call the “treatment team”, which should be headed up either by the counsellor or by a Catch Up Kids case supervisor.
Children that show signs of ADD can be helped with their school life by the ADD teacher. The methods used at Catch Up Kids are easily enforced and it may make the ADD teacher’s classroom environment a more accessible learning space for the child with ADD. As a general rule, having set classroom routines will make it easier for an ADD learner to be successful in the class. Reducing distractions in the learner’s immediate environment will help them to concentrate, as will giving them some time to engage in gross motor activities between activities to release some of their energy. This can be as simple as choosing the child with ADD when an errand across school needs to be run. Learners benefit from reinforcement and this includes children with ADD. Teachers can set up a reinforcement schedule for the entire classroom as not to single anyone out. The teachers using positive role models in peers will also help ADD learners.
An ADD teacher showing interest in the ADD learner will make their teaching easier as well as the child’s ability to learner. There is a great number of articles available on the Internet for teachers to read based on strategies for ADD learners to cope in the classroom. Taking this time will make a big difference for both the teacher and the ADD student. A Catch Up Kids supervisor can also help shortcut the process by conducting a school observation and attending meetings with the teacher on a regular basis.