ADHD – The Disorder and Accommodations

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Children with ADHD may have trouble staying focused and organized. It can interfere with their daily routine at home, at school and may cause them to act more impulsively than their peers. ADHD is common and requires a medical diagnosis. It generally begins in childhood and can prevent kids from reaching their academic potential.

Underlying issues with the brain are likely to be the cause of ADHD. Scientists aren’t certain about the exact cause of ADHD, but some have looked at a neurotransmitter called dopamine as a possible contributor to the disorder. Dopamine has been described as the neurotransmitter that converts motivation into action, regulates emotional responses and is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Scientists have observed that lower levels of dopamine are associated with ADHD. Some individuals can be treated by stimulants that increase dopamine in the brain to help improve focus.

There are other treatments for ADHD that include behavior therapy. In 2003, the FDA approved the use of non-stimulant drugs to treat ADHD. Academic therapists can also offer support by working with a child on an individual basis helping to build their overall confidence and self-esteem. An educational plan can be implemented, and strategies taught to help the child improve their planning and organizational skills.

Accommodations need to be in place to help a child succeed at school and an academic therapist can provide additional support for parents during meetings with their child’s educational support team.

Suggested Accommodations for Kids with ADHD

1. Seat the student in the front of the classroom and away from windows and doors

2. Use daily planners and notebooks for organization

3. Teacher prompts (tap on the shoulder) when student appears distracted

4. For each unit of work share worksheets with fewer questions, and give frequent quizzes instead of one long unit test

5. Share directions verbally and provide extra time for assignments and tests

6. Allow student to take exams verbally or use fill in the blanks and try to avoid essay questions

7. Provide short breaks when needed and allow the student to take tests in a quiet workplace

8. Monitor frustration, praise good behavior and ignore other behavior if it isn’t disruptive

About the author

Vikki Carrel

Vikki Carrel

Academic Language Therapist, Multi-book Author, National Speaker

Vikki empowers people! She is an Academic Language Therapist, multi-book author and a national speaker. Vikki grew up in Salt Lake City, met her husband at the University of Utah, and has owned several companies across the United States. In 2010, Vikki and her husband moved back to Utah from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and she founded Vikki Carrel & Company, a speaking and training organization. Read more about the Author

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