Classroom Strategies Series from My Attention Coach: #5 Encourage Fidgeting

Fidgeting can help the student with ADHD and I would like to share a few specific ideas. I would also encourage you to check out Fidget to Focus, a book written by Sarah Wright and Roland Rotz for more ideas and information.

Stress Balls

Allow students with ADHD to hold and squeeze a small stress ball or a Koosh ball with knobby ends to it. Of course, the fidget should not be distracting for the student with ADHD or others in the classroom. Different fidgets will work for different students. If they are going to throw the ball to their friends, it probably is not a good strategy, but if it something helps them focus, everyone can benefit.


 

Move!

Just general movement, having physical breaks to move around can help. It allows them to release some energy, but it does not disrupt your classroom. Tied in with this, I also encourage you, if you are an elementary teacher, not to take away recess. I understand that it is a natural consequence of not getting work done, but you are potentially taking recess away from the student that needs it the most.

Teaching the value of exercise to the students and encouraging them to do it can also help. I recently taught a workshop and someone mentioned “Brain Gym .” Although I have not personally tried it, just doing some of those exercises where you move your arms across your body may help with focus.

What concerns do you have about fidgeting?

Laura Rolands is an ADHD Coach, the founder of My Attention Coach, and host of Practical ADHD Strategies.  She works with students, adults and families to find effective solutions to their ADHD challenges. 

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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Classroom Strategies Series from My Attention Coach: #4 Involve the Student

Self-Advocating Skills

I know that advocating is very familiar to parents of students with ADHD and other challenges around learning. I also encourage teachers, school social workers and school psychologists to help students learn how to advocate for themselves. It can be very helpful for everyone involved if the student with ADHD knows what they need to succeed and what will work for them in their school day. I find in coaching students that they often have the best answers! Chances are you talk to one of your students with ADHD; they are going to come up with strategies that I have not even considered in this series. Teaching students to self-advocate and to be more confident in what they request can help them gain confidence along with empowerment. Both are key to success later in life.

Study Skills

I find that many students with ADHD benefit from reading their notes out loud. My guess is that this helps all students that prefer to learn by hearing. This can help them study and perhaps two students can use the strategy together. Could this be a solution for the two students who talk too much in class? Make it an acceptable form of studying and see if their results improve.

What could be different?

Seth Godin wrote an article a while back that got my attention. He talked about how we teach to fill jobs that may be not as much part of our economy as they were 75 to 90 years ago. My take-away from the article was to wonder how we can re-think things and use more experiential learning. How could you take student interests and apply their interests to math and really get them engaged? How can you tie social studies and science together? I think students with ADHD can learn by doing with some non-traditional approaches.

How could you involve your student in the solution?

Laura Rolands is an ADHD Coach, the founder of My Attention Coach, and host of Practical ADHD Strategies.  She works with students, adults and families to find effective solutions to their ADHD challenges.  

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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504 plan, academic achievement, adhd and school, advocacy, attention/focus, awareness, behavior modification, parenting/FAMILY, special education (IEP) ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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Classroom Strategies Series from My Attention Coach: #3 Lighting

Lighting: Can it impact your students?

I believe it can help all students of all ages to consider the distraction of the bright fluorescent light. There is some research that has been done by Helen Irlen to support this. You can learn more at the website of the Irlen Institute: http://irlen.com/.

When the light is too bright, it can cause distortion in written material and this can really impact students with ADHD. One of the solutions is simply to turn off the overhead fluorescent light and have some table or floor lamps. Just turning off those overhead lights can really be helpful. In my office, I do not ever turn on the fluorescent lights because I just find them very distracting to my clients — both students and adults.

Students may also benefit from being allowed to wear baseball caps in class to help dim the light reaching their eyes. Using colored transparency sheets over written material can also be helpful.

What do you think, could fluorescent lighting be affecting your student(s)?

 

Laura Rolands is an ADHD Coach, the founder of My Attention Coach, and host of Practical ADHD Strategies.  She works with students, adults and families to find effective solutions to their ADHD challenges.  

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Flickr YouTube 

Related posts:

504 plan, adhd and school, classroom accommodations ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

One Comment

  1. Colette_OConnor says:

     It’s great to see people writing about the benefits of fidgeting!  I’m not familiar with that book – must check it out!  Personally I don’t generally recommend stress balls for the classroom unless a child keeps them in his or her pocket, as they can be distracting.  Parents I know came up with the idea of cutting one in half – that worked for their child.  To be effective, I find that a fidget item needs to be silent, safe and to look boring.  My favorite is a loop of stretchy lycra material cut from stockings (not so big that it fits over the child’s head).  Of course every child is different..  

    When using movement to improve attention, it’s useful to remember that for many kids, some types of movement (such as spinning and bouncing) can decrease attention, but others (such as pulling, pushing and carrying) can increase it.

    In my book “Success in School”, I explain why and how fidgeting and movement (with limits) can promote attention.  I also give ideas for classroom fidget and movement tools.  I’ve written it so that it applies to all children, as I believe that if the general level of understanding was improved, that would help kids with ADHD.

    Colette O’Connor
    Occupational Therapist

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