A learner with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has attention difficulty, and self-control. At school, this can look like distractibility, inattention, hyper reactivity, disorganizations, and impulsivity. However, these learners concentrate better if they are allowed to fidget.
Someone would ask “if they are allowed to fidget what about the rest?” right. There are some great classroom ideas to allow these learners fidget without causing class distractions. Read on to get some tricks you can try.
- Seats that Move
Ball chairs and wiggle cushions allow kids to fidget while learning without disrupting other learners. Their surfaces allow learners to sit on less stable surfaces right at their desks. To get a more active learning position, you can get a cushion that leans forward. Alternatively, you can use an air filled ball or a less air to achieve a hang.
- Floor Time
The floor ground the muscles to create a calming effect. Getting down on the floor can be more productive during sessions that call for creativity, problem-solving, and group work. For the best results, you can use pillows, beanbags chairs, or floor spots.
- Bike and Read
You might need to look for used exercise bikes for your child’s “Pedal to Read program”. You can get peddler’s that sit on the floor near their feet or go for actual exercise bikes. These will keep ADHD learners occupied while not distracting other learners.
- Stand to Learn
These stand-to-learn stations cater for learners who can’t sit. In the classroom, you can have a standing desk/table, or even try out a podium at the class back. To make it more interesting, put a balance board or wiggle cushion under their feet while standing. This helps to engage their brains with their bodies.
- Helpful Fidgets
Hands or feet fidgets can help your kids stay sited for longer. Squishy balls, putty, and small fidgets will work perfectly for hands. To cater for easy feet fidgets, you can try resistance bands around their chair legs. For convenience, these fidgets can be made available in the classroom or upon students’ request.
- Bungee Chairs
If you must have chairs in your classroom for ADHD learners, bungee chairs will do the work. However, you don’t have to equip the whole class, maybe one or two different chairs will do the trick. Bungee chairs are a good option for their bounce.
- Flexible Work Stations
Learners don’t have to always work from their desks. But, can also work from the windowsills or better move from one desk to the other. Having different learning locations is beneficial for all types of learners.
- Create Space for Moving Around
Create space behind or on the sides of the classroom to allow learners to stand, dance, twirl, or stretch whenever they want. When moving around, these learners will not distract others too much seeking to pass.
- Squeeze Balls
There are dozens of items that can be squeezed quietly, like squishy balls, Koosh balls, stress balls, and hand exercisers. However, you should encourage learners to keep these balls under the desks to reduce distractions. To custom make more fun squeeze balls, fill balloons with various items like play-dough, seeds, flour, etc.
- Chewable Necklaces or Gums
You can help to keep some ADHD students focused by chewing gums. However, in no gum classrooms, you can use necklaces with chewable pieces. Bonus tip; you can wrap rubber bands or airline tubing on pencil edges for learners to chew.
- Background Noise/Music
Having a fan at the back of your classroom can help some learners focus. Also, you can allow students to listen to low music on headphones as long as they don’t distract others. In addition, you can consider having an aquarium at the classroom back; some teachers have had success with this, whereby students liked the calming swish of the water.
- Wobble and Swivel Chairs
Wobble chairs allow learners to rock within their seats. However, don’t allow learners to rock so much, as they may fall. Swivel chairs allow kids to controllably twist from side to side.
Characteristics of ADHD Learners
Several ADHD children explicit disorder signs even before they attain school age. However, it’s in school where most of the diagnosis is made when they can’t meet their grade expectations. ADHD is the first suspected case due to problematic behavior and performance.
The three main behaviors involved in ADHD are; hyper reactive, impulsivity, and inattention. Kids should only be diagnosed if their behavior is extreme in these areas compared to children of their age. Below are common behaviors you can observe in school.
ADHD Inattentive Signs
- Instructions following difficulty
- Frequently makes careless mistakes in school, overlooking details
- Easily distracted
- When spoken to directly, they don’t seem to be listening
- Difficulty in organizing tasks and possessions
- Many times fails to complete classwork or class chores
- Losing backpacks, jackets, books, assignments frequently
- Resists tasks that need sustained mental effort
Impulsive or Hyper reactive ADHD Symptoms
- Trouble sitting in one place
- Often fidgeting or squirms
- Hard time playing quietly
- Excessive talking
- Intrudes and interrupts other people’s conversations, activities
- Gives answers before a question is asked
- Extreme impatience; can’t wait for his turn
- Seems to be always on the go
- Climbs and runs in inappropriate places
In conclusion, it’s common to envision learners sited with their teacher at the front, explaining concepts whenever you hear of classroom learning. However, this is not always the situation anymore. Learning is evolving to meet learning styles differences.
Nowadays, it is common to find a teacher on the floor with her students, or up and about the classroom engaging in learning. The new learning methods give room for children to move around in order to learn.
In this article, we have discussed alternative sitting solutions. However, these chairs can engage learners while maintaining order. In addition, we have discussed main ADHD symptoms, to help you identify learners with this disorder.
If you are a teacher, consider applying some of these tips in your classroom, to help ADHD learners. Additionally, if you are a parent, consider suggesting these tips or help come up with more for your own classroom or school. Happy learning!