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Strategies for ADHD

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by kjenkins99, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. kjenkins99

    kjenkins99 New commenter

    I am a SENCO in a mainstream school. One child is proving to be particularly challenging. He has a variety of needs including developmental delay, ADHD and SALT issues. He is in a KS1 class with 29 other pupils but most of the time has to work outside of the classroom with a teaching assistant in a separate room. He has a very short attention span and really only wants to do what he wants to do. He can display violent behaviour such as hitting, spitting and biting. I do not have much experience of working with ADHD and was looking for any advice or strategies. He has a visual timetable, reward chard etc. and the lady working with him is excellent with him but we need some help! Thank you
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Invest time in speech & language. Violence is his default mode of expression right now. Give him the same mode as everyone else and you will be surprised how pacific and attentive he becomes once he can make himself understood, when adults speak to him normally and when he is able to socialise with his peers. Have his hearing checked immediately.
    kjenkins99 likes this.
  3. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I work at a SEN school and I have 1 student this year in my class who is diagnosed with SLD, ASD and ADHD. He is also pre-verbal. He is slightly older than your student (mine is in year 5) but there seem to be similarities so I hope some of the strategies we use could be helpful for you.

    My particular student has sensory issues as well (he gets overstimulated very easily) and although he loves running around, jumping on the trampoline or spinning, we limit his playtime because he gets too hyper. One of the TAs will take him back inside earlier and apply deep pressure massage/ joint compression / general squeezes to calm him down.

    He is taken out for a calming down moment like this multiple times a day, basically every time before or after an activity. He also has a chewy and ear-defenders if needed. He is unable to focus if he does not get this calming down moment before an activity so it is simply a part of his daily routine.

    His attention span is short and we do a lot of Attention Autism with him to increase this. He is currently able to focus for up to 20 minutes, if the activity interests him. If not, he will start getting restless and if asked to stay where he is, will hit/bite/scratch. We usually take him out to calm down before he escalates which effectively means he is out of the classroom quite a lot. Since he has absolutely no sense of danger, somebody needs to be with him all the time if he is out.

    He is able to use some Makaton signs to communicate what he wants and he also uses PECS. Giving him a voice greatly helps to improve his behaviour.

    He has been on Ritalin in the past but the parents were not happy with the side effects so he is unlikely to get back on it and I support that choice.

    Is there an OT involved? Are you aware of any sensory issues? Are there specific times during the day that he seems more hyper than at other times, for example after lunch? What calms him down? If he goes for a little movement break, does that help? Is he able to do that independently? So perhaps have a system in place where he can ask for a break, give him a stopwatch for 2/3 minutes, ask him to go for a little walk and come back when the time is up? In that way you don't lose your TA all the time. Would squeezes or deep pressure massage help him to calm down? This could be done by the TA while he is sitting on the carpet for example.

    Hope this helps!
  4. kjenkins99

    kjenkins99 New commenter

    Thank you for the replies, some great ideas. He does have quite a lot of work breaks and can't go anywhere by himself as he does have no sense of danger. We wouldn't be able to do the massage as it's the school policy that staff can't touch the children in this way. I think it is different for special schools.
  5. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    That's a shame, the massage bit. Especially if it is a sensory issue. I think it might be since he displays aggressive behaviour but an OT would be able to tell you more after observing him. Just to clarify, it's not massage in the traditional sense of the word, an example is the video if you search "How to Provide Deep Pressure Touch for Sensory Diet" on YouTube. I understand there are rules for touching students but if it helps him, maybe it can become a provision as part of his EHCP? An alternative is a weighted jacket or weighted blanket, but then you need a budget.

    How long is his attention span at the moment? What is the most challenging about working with him? Attention span or agressive behaviour?

    Have you tried giving him a choice board? If he gets upset he gets to choose a break. Could be a walk, could be reading in a quiet corner, whatever works for him. If this works, you could (over time) reduce the number of breaks he can ask for. This works only if it's a behaviour issue, not if it is a sensory issue since his sensory issues might not go away that fast.

    Just brainstorming out loud here because my student is also my first with ADHD and he is different from the "normal" SLD/ASD students in my class and I haven't found the magical solution either (if 1 exists...)
  6. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    There are magical solutions to improving behaviour with quite a number(not all) of these kids. i use them all the time in my workshops.

    To give a flavour ... I was teaching reception class kids circus skills last week. Between lessons I met a year 1 lad with his 1:1 TA. He had headphones on and was clearly autistic. He started to engage with some of the equipment.

    I told his TA he was welcome to join in with the next reception class. She explained he did not like loud noise - hence the headphones - so wouldn't be able to. Even so I said the invitation was still there.

    Reception class came in. How to use the equipment had been explained earlier in the day to all classes.

    Reception class started to noisily play. The music was turned on. I spotted the autistic lad trying out the 'magic roundabouts' and tightrope.

    A little later I looked round for the lad with headphones and couldn't spot him anywhere. The noise had obviously got to him and he had left I assumed.

    Hang on ... that lad at the 'jack in the box' table looks like him ... but he wasn't wearing headphones?

    Is that not the same TA with him?

    Indeed it was him! Happily engaging in all the activities the rest of the class. No longer affected by noise.

    Whenever I am working in primary schools I alway invite any special needs kids to join in with positive results.

    I have been on a mission for years to persuade schools to buy the sort of equipment I use for themselves. Sadly they never do.

    Kevin the Clown
  7. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    So what are your magical solutions?

    It sounds like you found something that interested him, which is great! And yes, sometimes they don't use headphones even if the noises are loud but will use them in a quiet environment. Or they have a meltdown later.

    I would be interested in the sort of equipment you use :)
  8. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi saneme,

    In my 'circus' workshops, I use quite a bit of equipment which works so well with special needs pupils. Indeed one of the most effective items is the rebound roller from the 'Rompa' special needs catalogue.

    A few weeks ago I had a mostly wheelchair bound group of pupils in a special school.

    We placed one of young girls from the wheelchair on this 'rebound roller'. It took a while to get her into a suitable position.

    A rebound roller is a circular piece of wood on wheels surrounded by a bicycle tyre and tube with rope threaded through the board.

    In the end the lower part of her legs remained on the floor whilst I gently pulled her round the hall floor.

    After a while we got the girl into a better more upright position on the board with her feet completely on the board. Now I could pull her round the room without her feet dragging on the floor. Her 'reward' for getting her body into a better position was a smoother ride.

    As I was doing the other site of the school the following week I did offer to lend them this item to see if they could make further progress. They did not take up this offer.

    This is an example of improving mobilty using equipment easily available to special schools.


    ps I have already posted something on didicars a while back.
    sanneme likes this.
  9. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Ezyrollers are another great item...

    Kids love these. Not widely known in this country. Winther do an outdoor version known as a 'foot twister'

    Again this an achievable skill.

    It is perhaps PE teachers who need to be aware of the variety of equipment and how to use it effectively with their pupils.

    sanneme likes this.
  10. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I can see the rebound roller and the stilts being used by children in my class, thank you for the info!

    There should be some budget left for resources so I'll definitely keep these in minds.

    Thank you again!
  11. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Gymspins are used in America for autistic kids.

    One in action ...

    Also sold as 'spin discs'.

    I call them 'magic roundabouts'. The base is offset to the top. Hence by slight movement they can spin continuously. Some people tell me they have seen fixed ones in play parks in this country.


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