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A dozen golden methods to address impulsivity in ADHD Students

ADHD is generally defined by: Inattention, Impulsivity, and sometimes Hyperactivity.

Impulsive behaviours are common. One of the main characteristics of people with Attention Deficit Disorder is the tendency to act impulsively (acting before thinking about the consequences of their behaviour). Impulsivity often shows itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect. Research suggests that ADHD students can often verbalise the rules but have difficulty internalising them and translating them into thoughtful behaviour. Difficulties in waiting for what they want also add to the impulsivity. Some clinicians believe that this lack of "self-control" (poor regulation and inhibition of behaviour), rather than their problems with paying attention, is the primary problem with attention deficit disorder. Let's look at how to address this.

1. Give your ADHD students a break once in a while - they need breaks to regain attention.

2. Know the difference between big things and little things, and don't confront attention deficit students on each little thing. It is hard for ADHD students to control themselves all of the time.

3. Distinguish between premeditated and impulsive behaviours. Consequences still need to be applied in both situations but telling a student who has been impulsive that you realise it was impulsive can help him/her feel more understood.

4. By having attention deficit students think "out loud" when they are problem-solving, the teacher will gain insights into their reasoning style, and the process will slow them down before they respond impulsively.

5. Quite often, ADHD students will make the same mistakes over and over again, both socially and with school work. Students with attention deficit disorder often have problems with taking turns, over-interpreting others' remarks as hostile, personalizing others' actions excessively, and misreading social cues.

6. With the help of your ADHD student and his trusted peers, common problematic themes can be identified. Role-play scenes involving these behaviours, preferably with his friends, identifying and practicing better ways to solve problems.

7. To teach your ADHD students to slow down before they say things that they'll regret later, encourage them to practice "stopping and thinking" before talking. Let them practice by encouraging them to wait about five seconds before responding to your questions. This one technique can help ADHD students a great deal.

8. It is important for attention deficit students to identify a "support network" of peers and adults that can help give him hints when he needs to "slow down". This group can also practice the "slow down" techniques with their ADHD friend.

9. Students with attention deficit disorder can benefit greatly from behavioural interventions that are sensitive to their processing style. Rewards, or punishments, should be as immediate as possible. Changing the reward periodically is usually necessary.

10. A major consideration in forming an effective behavioural plan is assessing what is workable for the classroom teacher on a regular basis. Some plans that require extensive charting do not succeed because the teacher can not follow through effectively within the context of the daily classroom demands. Keeping the plan simple and flexible is the key to success.

11. Have someone actively monitoring your ADHD student during tests, especially multiple-choice, fill in the "bubble" tests. He can get off track and fill in the wrong places or become so frustrated that he might answer at random to simply complete the test.

12. Emphasise that part of the work routine is to "check your work". Students with ADHD tend to complete work and turn it in without checking it over. Give the attention deficit student some instruction in how to check his work and practice it with him. In assignments that require research reports and creative writing, have the ADHD student dictate the words to someone rather than writing it down. The attention deficit student can then copy the words using the word processor. This technique will yield greater output on tasks requiring expressive written language skills by removing the written component.

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