blank'/> Promoting Success: 2009
         

Friday, March 20, 2009

ADHD Teaching Strategies for Teachers


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A student with ADHD can present unique challenges in the classroom. Inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity can be the source of frustration, but there are ways teachers can help students with ADHD to improve the educational experience and control the symptoms of the disorder. It is important for teachers to be aware of coexisting conditions such as learning disabilities, as well as reinforcing the importance of classroom and instructional structure.

Here are some teaching strategies for teachers of students with ADHD.

  • Work on the most difficult concepts early in the day;
  • Give directions to one assignment at a time instead of directions to multiple tasks all at once;
  • Vary the pace and type of activity to maximize the student's attention; and
  • Structure the student's environment to accommodate his or her special needs. For example, the student can be seated away from potentially distracting areas (such as doors, windows, and computers) or seated near another student who is working on a shared assignment.


Behavioral Approaches

Behavioral approaches represent a broad set of specific interventions that have the common goal of modifying the physical and social environment to alter or change behavior (AAP, 2001). They are used in the treatment of ADHD to provide structure for the child and to reinforce appropriate behavior. Those who typically implement behavioral approaches include parents as well as a wide range of professionals, such as psychologists, school personnel, community mental health therapists, and primary care physicians. Types of behavioral approaches include behavioral training for parents and teachers (in which the parent and/or teacher is taught child management skills), a systematic program of contingency management (e.g. positive reinforcement, "time outs," response cost, and token economy), clinical behavioral therapy (training in problem-solving and social skills), and cognitive-behavioral treatment (e.g., self-monitoring, verbal self-instruction, development of problem-solving strategies, self-reinforcement) (AAP, 2001; Barkley, 1998b; Pelham, Wheeler, & Chronis, 1998).

In general, these approaches are designed to use direct teaching and reinforcement strategies for positive behaviors and direct consequences for inappropriate behavior. Of these options, systematic programs of intensive contingency management conducted in specialized classrooms and summer camps with the setting controlled by highly trained individuals have been found to be highly effective (Abramowitz, et al., 1992; Carlson, et al., 1992; Pelham & Hoza, 1996). A later study conducted by Pelham, Wheeler, and Chronis (1998) indicates that two approaches-parent training in behavior therapy and classroom behavior interventions-also are successful in changing the behavior of children with ADHD. In addition, home-school interactions that support a consistent approach are important to the success of behavioral approaches.

The use of behavioral strategies holds promise but also presents some limitations. Behavioral strategies may be appealing to parents and professionals for the following reasons:

  • Behavioral strategies are used most commonly when parents do not want to give their child medication;
  • Behavioral strategies also can be used in conjunction with medicine (see multimodal methods);
  • Behavioral techniques can be applied in a variety of settings including school, home, and the community; and
  • Behavioral strategies may be the only options if the child has an adverse reaction to medication.

The research results on the effectiveness of behavioral techniques are mixed. While studies that compare the behavior of children during periods on and off behavior therapy demonstrate the effectiveness of behavior therapy (Pelham & Fabiano, 2001), it is difficult to isolate its effectiveness. The multiplicity of interventions and outcome measures makes careful analysis of the effects of behavior therapy alone, or in association with medications, very difficult (AAP, 2001). A review conducted by McInerney, Reeve, and Kane (1995) confirms that the effective education of children with ADHD requires modifications to academic instruction, behavior management, and classroom environment. Although some research suggests that behavioral methods offer the opportunity for children to work on their strengths and learn self-management, other research indicates that behavioral interventions are effective but to a lower degree than treatment with psychostimulants (Jadad, Boyle, & Cunningham, 1999; Pelham, et al., 1998).

Behavior therapy has been found to be effective only when it is implemented and maintained (AAP, 2001). Indeed, behavioral strategies can be difficult to implement consistently across all of the settings necessary for it to be maximally effective. Although behavioral management programs have been shown to enhance the academic performance and behavior of children with ADHD, followup and maintenance of the treatment is often lacking (Rapport, Stoner, & Jones, 1986).

In fact, some research has shown that behavioral techniques may fail to reduce ADHD's core characteristics of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention (AAP, 2001; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 1999). Conversely, one must consider that the problems of children with ADHD are seldom limited to the core symptoms themselves (Barkley, 1990a). Children frequently demonstrate other types of psychosocial difficulties, such as aggression, oppositional defiant behavior, academic underachievement, and depression (Barkley, 1990a). Because many of these other difficulties cannot be managed through psychostimulants, behavioral interventions may be useful in addressing ADHD and other problems a child may be exhibiting.

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ADHD Classroom Strategies, Jon Weinberger 5th Grade Teacher



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ADHD Research Based Teaching Strategies



Strategies include:

1. At the beginning of the lesson, tell the students exactly what they are going to learn.

2. At the beginning of the lesson, tell the students exactly how they are expected to behave.

3. Keep instructions simple.

4. Small groups make it easier.

5. Structure is important, along with less, but clearly defined, rules.

6. Focus on three behaviors to monitor.

7. Don't embarrass to get back on task. Work out a private cue.

8. Allow movement.

9.  Use colors in presentations and use manipulatives. 

10. Provide a variety of activities.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Behavior Modification Strategies for Classrooms

Classrooms use the following common behavioral modification strategies to help reduce problem behaviors and teach children positive behavioral skills.

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Stop, Relax, and Think teaches children how to think about the problem they are having and find a solution. Children learn the steps:
Define the problem.
Decide who "owns" the problem.
Think of as many solutions as possible to solve the problem.
Select a solution to try.
Use the solution.
Evaluate its success.
After children understand the steps, role-play and practice can help the process become habit. Helping children to recognize their own response to stress (clenched hands, voice tone, etc.) may become part of the instruction needed to use this strategy effectively.

Planned ignoring is useful in stopping behaviors that are annoying. For example, it is useful for students who yell or interrupt the class to attract the teacher's attention or that of students who are not prepared for class. Planned ignoring acknowledges that children's problem behaviors serve a function. If the purpose of a problem behavior is to gain adult attention, then not providing attention means that the behavior does not work. The behavior lessens over time and eventually disappears. Ignoring non-serious behavior is especially useful for parents when their child is having a tantrum for attention. Many adults find it difficult to ignore behaviors, however, especially if the behaviors inter-rupt what the adult is doing. Also, attention-seeking behaviors often get worse before they eventually go away.

Planned ignoring is not suitable for behaviors that are extremely disruptive. It also may not work if other children laugh at the problem behaviors the adult is trying to ignore. Some behaviors, including those that are unsafe or that include peer issues such as arguing, can grow quickly into more serious behaviors. It may not be possible to ignore these kinds of behaviors. Planned ignoring should never be used for unsafe behaviors. As children grow older and want attention more from their friends than from adults, planned ignoring is less useful.

Preventive cueing (also called signal interference) lets a child know when he or she is doing something that is not acceptable. Teachers or parents can frown, shake their head, make eye contact, point to a seat for a wandering child, or snap their fingers, to let the child know he or she needs to pay attention or to stop the problem behaviors. When using preventive cueing it is important not to smile or look pleased with a child. Preventive cueing may be used in steps, de-pending on the behaviors and how often they occur or how serious they are. For instance, a hand motion may work the first time or two, but it may need to be combined with eye contact or a shake of the head for the next offense.

Proximity control means that a teacher or adult moves closer to the child in a gentle way. If the teacher does not get the child's attention by using cues, then he or she may move closer to the student or give the lesson while standing near the child's desk.

Touch control, meaning touch that is not resisted, is a nonverbal guided intervention. It is used to direct a student toward positive behavior. For example, a teacher may gently place a hand on a child's shoul-der to steer the child back to his or her desk. Touch control should never be used with children who react angrily or when school policy does not permit its use. If a child's records show that he or she has a history of violence, has been abused or maltreated, is anxious, or has a mental illness or psychosis, touch control should not be used, unless specifically agreed to by a physician or psychologist.

Humor directed either at the teacher or the situation—never at the child—can defuse tensions as well as redirect children. Humor must never be used to demean a child or be used in a manner that might encourage others in the class to ridicule the child.

Nonverbal warnings give a child the opportunity to regain control without being singled out for a verbal reprimand. For example, a teacher might place a colored warning cue card or a note on a desk as he or she moves through the room, or hold up the number of fingers that corresponds to the rule being challenged.

Discipline privately. Many children see it as a challenge when teachers attempt to discipline them in front of their peers. Children rarely lose these challenges, even when adults use negative conse-quences. Young people can gain stature from peers by publicly refusing to obey a teacher. A child is more likely to accept discipline if his or her peers are not watching the process.

Positive phrasing lets children know the positive results for using appropriate behaviors. As simple as it sounds, this can be difficult. Teachers and parents are used to focusing on misbehavior. Warning children about a negative response to problem behaviors often seems easier than describing the positive impact of positive behaviors. Compare the difference between positive phrasing and negative phrasing:
Positive phrasing: "If you finish your reading by recess, we can all go outside together and play a game."Negative phrasing: "If you do not finish your reading by recess, you will have to stay inside until it's done."
Positive phrasing helps children learn that positive behaviors lead to positive outcomes. This, in turn, can help them gain control of their behaviors.

I-messages, described by Thomas Gordon in his 1974 book Teacher Effectiveness Training, helps children learn about how their problem behaviors affect others. It also demonstrates the importance of taking responsibility for one's own behavior. For example, parents or teachers will use language like "I'm upset when . . ." not "You are bad when . . ." When a child has a good relationship with parents and teachers, I-messages can help him or her to understand how the problem behaviors affect adults. If the child dislikes the teacher, though, using I-statements can be a problem. It may even help the child to more effectively annoy the teacher.

Behavior shaping acknowledges that not all children can do everything at 100 percent. If a child does not turn in papers daily, expecting that papers will be turned in 100 percent of the time is not realis-tic. By rewarding small gains and reinforcing the gains as they occur, children learn how to stick with a task and to improve the skill.

Clear routines and expectations let children know what comes next in their school day, reducing anxiety or fear. Teachers who post and review the rules daily establish expectations for behavior during the day.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why Do Students Misbehave?

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Why do students misbehave? Problem behaviors usually serve a function, or purpose, for the child. ALL BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION. Sometimes we see problem behaviors when a substitute teacher is in the classroom. In this case, we must be careful not to assume that the child doesn't like the teacher or that the child wants to show off for friends. Perhaps the child likes his or her regular teacher and is upset when she is not there. Or the child may be anxious about what to expect with a new teacher. A child who is upset about having a new teacher may use problem behaviors in order to be placed in a less stressful setting. Some children would rather be in a timeout space than in their classroom.

Unfortunately, consequences that improve the behaviors of most students do not work with all. Sending a child to the principal's office, for example, can be ineffective if the consequence does not address the complex function of a child's behavior. WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE CHILD'S BEHAVIOR? What is its purpose (from the child's point of view)?

What a child does (the behavior) and why a child does it (the function) may be unrelated. Skipping school and getting good grades are two very different behaviors. Yet they may serve the same function for different children—gaining adult attention. Two children may both want to be noticed by their parents; one may study hard to have good grades while the other skips class. They do very different things to get the attention they want. While the function of both behaviors is positive (parent attention), skipping class is not an acceptable way to be noticed.

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Research Based Strategies


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Classroom Management Strategies To Take Control Of Noisy Students



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Monday, January 19, 2009

What about Section 504? Who Qualifies?


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Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ."

What services are available for students who qualify under Section 504?

Section 504 requires recipients to provide to students with disabilities appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of such students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services.

What is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity?

The determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis of an individual inquiry. The Section 504 regulation, at 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(i), defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The regulation does not set forth an exhaustive list of specific diseases and conditions that may constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of such a list.

Does a medical diagnosis of an illness automatically qualify a student for services under Section 504?

No. A medical diagnosis of an illness does not automatically qualify a student for services under Section 504. The illness must cause a substantial limitation on the student's ability to learn or other major life activities. For example, a student who has a physical or mental impairment would not be considered a student in need of services under Section 504 if the impairment does not in any way limit the student's ability to learn or other major life activity, or only results in some minor limitation in that regard.

Click HERE for more information from the U.S. Department of Education.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

What is NCLB, IDEA, and LRE?

What is NCLB?
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) -- the main federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school. Proposed by President Bush shortly after his inauguration, NCLB was signed into law on January 8th, 2002. NCLB is built on four principles: accountability for results, more choices for parents, greater local control and flexibility, and an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research.

What is IDEA?
It is an acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, our nation's special education law. IDEA was first passed in 1975, where it was called the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act (PL 94-142.) Every few years, the law has been revised (a process called reauthorization.) The most current version of IDEA is Public Law 108-446, passed in 2004 and called the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.” It's still most commonly referred to as IDEA, or IDEA 2004 (to distinguish it from other reauthorizations.) Final regulations for IDEA 2004 were published in 2006.

What is LRE?
IDEA emphasizes that special education is a service and not a place, and as such, supports and services should be delivered to the child in the least restrictive environment. This is based on the presumption that the general education environment is the first choice for educating all individuals.

Although IDEA provides that children with disabilities are to be educated with their nondisabled peers, to the maximum extent appropriate, the nature or the severity of the disability of a child may be such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved. In such cases, IDEA provides that schools make available a continuum of alternative placements to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services, including: instruction in regular classes; special classes; special schools; home instruction; and instruction in hospitals and institutions. The placement of a child in the LRE must be as close as possible to the child’s home.

How do I know if the student is in the LRE?
The team establishing the student’s placement must answer the following questions:
1. What accommodations, modifications and adaptations does the individual require to be successful in the general education environment?
2. Why is it not possible for these accommodations, modifications and adaptations be provided within the general education environment?
3. What supports are needed to assist the teacher and other personnel in providing these accommodations, modifications and adaptations?
4. How will receipt of special education services and activities in the general education environment impact this individual?
5. How will the provision of special education services and activities in the general education environment impact other students?

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General Education Teacher as an IEP Team Member

The general education teacher participating in a student’s IEP meeting should be the teacher who is, or may be, responsible for providing services, accommodations, adaptations, modifications or supports for the student.
The general education teacher must participate, to the extent appropriate, in the development, review, and revision of the IEP for the student.

The general education teacher:
· participates in discussions about how best to teach the student;
· provides expertise regarding the general education curriculum and environment;
· assists in determining:
o appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies;
o special education services, activities and supports needed by the student;
o accommodations and modifications;
o support for school personnel; and
o assists in designing a program for the student that assures FAPE.
As an on-going member of the team:
· Provides services – as indicated on Page F of the IEP;
· Reviews and summarizes student progress;
· Relates student progress to district standards and benchmarks;
· Collects data and evaluates effective modifications and accommodations;
· Determines appropriate positive and behavioral interventions and strategies; and
· Assist in collecting data for monitoring progress on IEP goal.

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