Students with ADHD

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  • 0:04 ADHD
  • 0:53 Signs & Symptoms
  • 2:46 Treating ADHD
  • 4:18 Classroom Management
  • 5:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

In this lesson, you will be introduced to ADHD, its symptoms, prevalence, treatment options, and strategies for dealing with children in the classroom who have it.


ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Once upon a time, it was just called 'ADD,' but now the two are differently diagnosed. It is estimated that as much as 3-5% of the population in the United States may have ADHD, many cases of which are undiagnosed. However, in recent years, this diagnosis has also been given to children incorrectly, when, in fact, something other than ADHD may be present. Although some doctors can be quick to diagnose ADHD when someone seems hyperactive, impulsive, or can't manage his or her time well, that may not always be the case. It's important that if you have a child at home or in the classroom who is displaying signs of ADHD that you know what to look for and know how it's diagnosed.

Signs & Symptoms

Because you are in the classroom on a day-to-day basis, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms that children and teens who may have ADHD exhibit. As a teacher, you should be able to recognize these signs so that you are better equipped to tell parents and the school psychologist or counselor what you see.

1. The first is inattention. Some symptoms of inattention include:

  • Lacking focus
  • Being disorganized both at school and at home
  • Being messy and careless with belongings
  • Failure to follow rules both at school and at home (failure to follow rules in just one of these places, but not both, is indicative of other issues)
  • Forgetfulness
  • Being easily distracted, as well as inability to stay on topic in a conversation

2. The second set of symptoms is hyperactivity. It's important to note that adults do not suddenly become hyperactive. If this set of symptoms is present, it always shows up by middle school. Some symptoms are:

  • Fidgeting
  • Walking, running, or climbing frequently and in inappropriate situations
  • Having trouble sitting or playing quietly
  • Excessive and/or very loud talking

3. The third set of symptoms falls under the category of impulsivity. Some symptoms of impulsivity include:

  • Inability to wait your turn to talk
  • Blurting out the answers in school before being called upon
  • Interrupting others to the point that it's problematic
  • Begins talking or starting a conversation at inappropriate times

Doctors typically look for at least six of these symptoms to have been present for at least six months and to be causing problems both at home and at school. Of course, you will only see children at school, but chances are, if a student is showing a large number of these symptoms on a daily basis, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Treating ADHD

So, what do you do for a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD? There are several options. Many parents choose medication as an option. Most of the medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants, which, in adults, tend to 'rev up' the person. This is not the case with children and teens, however. For children, these stimulants actually have the opposite reaction, producing a calming effect. Many parents worry that their children will turn into zombies when taking these meds, but stimulants should never cause this. If this is the case, then the child is on either the wrong medicine or too much medicine, and his or her doctor should be consulted. If one of your students who has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on medication starts to exhibit zombie-like symptoms, be sure to notify the parents immediately.

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