Tips for ADHD-friendly Online Learning
There are children who respond to conventional modes of teaching, and then there are those with some cognitive disorder. And, one of the most common ones prevalent among children in India is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.According to a study of 770 primary school children from four districts of Coimbatore schools, 11.32% were affected with ADHD. Classroom learning is difficult for children afflicted with this disorder. Besides, with online education on the rise, it gets more difficult. But there are ways to deal with this issue with different learning methods. Read on to know about some ADHD online learning strategies to adopt to teach children with this disorder.
What is ADHD?
Firstly, let us see what exactly ADHD means? Children afflicted with this disorder are hyperactive and have a problem with being organised and managing their time. They struggle to regulate their impulses, their emotions and struggle to pay attention too. Hence, they are often confused and fidgety and have a problem focusing. Since ADHD affects the entire brain, these students face learning difficulties.
Keep the routine consistent
It is always a good idea to establish a proper and consistent routine before starting the lessons. Thus, the session must include lesson time, snack time, screen-free time, break time, etc. Do include time for physical activity as well, as this is necessary to keep children with ADHD focused. A consistent routine goes a long way in aiding in the learning process of these children.
Set proper lesson plans
Setting a routine is essential and being clear about what will be covered in each session is very important. Students with ADHD have a high level of anxiety and being unaware of what will comprise the lesson will make them more anxious. Hence, it is best to keep them aware of the lesson plan.
Flexibility is the key
While a routine and a proper lesson plan are crucial, it is equally important to be flexible while creating these lessons. Making adjustments while teaching online is easier, and you can use various tools to supplement your session. You can tweak the lessons as per the learning styles of the students, for e.g., use a text-to-speech tool, etc. This greatly enhances learning in these children.
Keep lessons short
Chunking lessons is a very effective online learning strategy to teach students with ADHD. Therefore, make short lessons and break each lesson into small sections. Also, children with ADHD find it tough to keep up with multi-step directions. Thus, include bullet points in your lesson to give crucial information. Short, direct, and to the point always works with such children.
Record the lecture
Attention spans of students with ADHD are short, up to 20 minutes maximum, and hence they may start moving around. Also, some may feel lost during an online learning session after settling down. Since these students struggle with prolonged concentration, recording the session will help greatly. This way, a student can pick up the lesson where they had left off without being stressed.
Give regular breaks
As students with ADHD struggle with paying attention, short breaks during an hour-long session (for instance) help. You can schedule a small break every 10-15 minutes where students can stretch, walk a bit, go for a snack, go to the restroom, etc. They can then return to the lesson. This technique greatly boosts learning in such children.
Let them fidget
As is known, most children with ADHD are hyperactive and cannot sit still for a prolonged period. Allow them to fidget! Have stress toys, rubber bands, a small handball, clay, fidget spinners, and other such paraphernalia handy. These will keep the children busy, and they will not have to stop to continue working.
Children with ADHD need a lot of understanding from their tutors and parents as well. We must always aim to support struggling students in online courses, especially those with any learning disorder. It is also important to be patient with such students without pressuring them or rushing through things. This will only augment their ADHD symptoms, stressing them out. A sustained and easy-going effort is needed to deal with such children.