In this post, I am going to be talking about Inattentive Type ADHD and how teachers can help their students who suffer from this. Inattentive ADHD used to go by ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder but it is now classed as a type of ADHD. What I’ve done below is listed some of the main symptoms you’d see in a person with ADHD and then talked about them from the perspective of a person with ADHD.
Symptoms of Inattentive Type ADHD:
- Daydreams and becomes easily distracted – this is a very hard part of ADHD as children don’t choose to become distracted or daydream and can often feel dumb as a result.
- Gets bored quickly and has difficulty staying focused – can cause the careless mistakes or missed details. People who have ADHD often become done with things and lose interest which causes them to put minimal effort into things they are doing.
- Has trouble getting organized (for example, losing homework assignments or keeping the bedroom messy and cluttered) – This can also present the opposite way. People with ADHD can be extremely organized to the point where organizing their lives can distract them from doing the things their organizing. They also often use cleaning or organizing as a way to distract themselves from doing the things that require their complete attention.
- Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to – This can be a result of a working memory disorder which often appears alongside ADHD. The working memory holds information in your brain that is currently being used. It’s like a temporary memory for your short-term memory. When people are talking to you, it requires your working memory to hold onto what the person is saying, and then come up with a response. People who have the working memory disorder have a hard time holding onto the information you’ve said which can come across as not listening.
- Avoids tasks which require a lot of focus – PROCRASTINATION! This is a big problem for people with ADHD. It takes up so much energy to sit down and focus on something. Imagine running a marathon every day, this is the amount of energy it takes a person with ADHD to focus during the entire day. IT IS EXHAUSTING! – which is why we often avoid large tasks that require our attention.
- Misses important details or makes careless mistakes on homework and tests – We get tired from focussing on things all day and then start to miss things because our attention isn’t working well.
- Often loses track of things – this is typically the result of the working memory not transferring the information of where the object last was to the short-term memory.
- Is forgetful in day to day activities – HELLO WORKING MEMORY! You know that voice in your head that reminds you to do things? Ya people with ADHD don’t have that…
- Has trouble following instructions and often shifts from task to task without finishing anything – This goes back to the TV and remote analogy from the last post. People with ADHD don’t have control over which channel their brain is on which makes it very hard for us to stick to one topic.
How Can You Help Your Children or Student’s Who Have ADHD?
- Check Lists and To Do Lists! – This helps people with ADHD get the clutter out of our heads. Writing down all of the things we’re trying to remember will free up our attention for the things we’re trying to focus on. It also feels really good to check things off on a list because it makes you feel proud for accomplishing something.
- Bite-size projects. Break down projects and requests into small tasks. Instead of saying, “Do your homework,” you might say, “Finish your math sheet. Then read one chapter of your English book. Finally, write one paragraph describing what you read.” Breaking down your projects or tasks into small chunks makes it easier for people ADHD to be successful. Smaller tasks mean focusing for smaller chunks of time.
- Give clear instructions. Make them simple, easy to understand, and write them down! Having a visual to look at will make your student feel less stressed to have to remember all of the instructions.
- Cut down on distractions. Turn off the TV, computer, radio, and video games as much as possible at home. Ask the teacher to seat your child away from the windows and doors in class. In your classroom, limit the things that are on the walls, some decorations are great but cluttered walls make it hard for ADHD students to focus on their tasks.
- Organize. Make sure your belongings are always in the same place and easy to find. Having a spot for everything so that things go in the same place and are easy to refind.
- Get into a routine. Routines are everything for a child with ADHD. A sense of order helps inattentive children stay focused. Follow the same schedule every day — “put your backpack in your cubby, hang up your coat, take out your planner, etc.” Having a routine list with visuals will help younger students remember.