Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Hyperactivity Disorder is not considered a learning disability. However, many students with ADD/ADHD also have other issues that can make it difficult to learn the traditional educational plan in public schools. Students with ADD/ADHD, as well as their teachers, often require adaptive strategies to aid in learning.
Teachers, including home-schooling parents, must deal with three issues in students with ADD/ADHD:
ADHD students find it hard to focus on one subject for long periods. Parents/teachers can help with this by keeping lessons short. Encourage the student to divide larger tasks into smaller tasks. Math is one of those big tasks that can be broken down into smaller pieces. It would be more beneficial for both the teacher and the student to set a short-term goal to complete the instruction portion of the math assignment and then take a break. Let the student take a brief break, refocus, and then complete a few math problems.
It is possible to manage the environment in a homeschooling setting. Thirty students do not cause the distraction. The home can be quietened. Homeschooling allows for flexibility, meaning students with ADHD can spend more or less time on each subject, depending on their needs.
ADHD students often seem “driven” to be constantly in motion. This is something that can be hard to manage in traditional classroom settings. It is much easier for the home educator because the student’s movement does not disturb others. You can allow the student to move around the room while they recite the multiplication tables. Moving and learning simultaneously can be very beneficial because it allows students to burn excess energy and retain information.
There are many ways to help ADHD students drain excess energy. One family allowed their child to use an exercise ball instead of a chair. The student was allowed gently to bounce on the ball or rock back-and-forth on it. The student could still balance while sitting still, which allowed him to utilize some of his excess energy.
It is also a good idea to keep your student busy. The conventional wisdom is that a student who is drawing or modeling clay is not paying attention is incorrect. However, ADHD students are able to do multiple things at once and can even benefit from having more than one.
ADHD students often become easily frustrated. Students with ADHD dislike repetitive lessons, reading lessons, and lessons that require a lot writing. ADHD is not a learning disability. ADHD students learn differently. ADHD students tend to learn differently because their brains process information very quickly. Repeated lessons can seem like a waste. Reading is only one thing, and the student’s comprehension will be affected if they are distracted. ADHD students dislike writing. Many ADHD students are poor at handwriting and frustrated by how quickly ideas can be put on paper.
One way to overcome frustration is to let the student use adaptive technology. These can easily be accommodated in a homeschool setting. Instead of reading a book, let the student listen to an audiobook. The student can listen to the story and do other things with their hands or jump up and down, while still focusing on the text. It is easier to teach keyboarding skills to students early, as it makes it easier to get ideas out of the student’s heads onto paper if they are able to type at a faster speed than writing.