ADHD Case Study
Fred is a student who exhibits the characteristics of ADHD. He is frequently inattentive. He submits incomplete worksheets, even though the answers he does complete are correct. He also talks out of turn, interrupts other students when they talk, and sometimes offers them rude comments.
When looking at the diagnosis of ADHD there are three main characteristics that individuals showcase. These characteristics are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. If we are to look at the case of Fred we see that he is suffering from inattention based on his incomplete worksheets. Students suffering from ADHD may miss items on a worksheet even when it is clear (as in Fred’s case) that they have the skills needed to complete the items correctly (Smith & Tyler, 2010). Due to his inattention, Fred gets distracted and does not focus for long enough to complete each item. He may have the inability to focus on the smaller details of a task or pay attention to the wrong features of the tasks which causes him to turn in incomplete assignments (Smith & Tyler, 2010). In the description given of Fred, there do not seem to be signs of hyperactivity but this characteristic may or may not be present to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD. Fred is, however, showing signs of impulsivity in the form of talking out of turn, interrupting, and offering rude comments. He cannot control his responses to the environment, a classic characteristic of ADHD (Smith & Tyler, 2010). He is blurting things out before thinking and as a result, may also be suffering from decreased social acceptance however this is not stated in Fred’s description. Fred’s inattention and impulsive behavior occur when he is asked to focus on a specific task or when he is not the center of attention. The behavior appears to allow him to gain teacher, peer, and administrator attention and to escape too difficult tasks.
The first and most important intervention that needs to occur to help Fred is a functional behavior assessment so that appropriate accommodations and modifications can be implemented. This assessment will allow teachers, special service providers, and Fred’s parents to determine Fred’s triggers, coping mechanisms, and the consequences he receives that cause him to continue the behavior. After these key factors have been determined a team will be able to provide Fred, his teacher, and his parents with appropriate coping behaviors, ways to avoid Fred’s triggers, and how to help Fred stay focused and on track.
Accommodations Fred would benefit from in the classroom include clearly defined goals and a rationale for individual assignments. He would also need step-by-step directions in print and orally for each assignment along with concrete examples (Smith & Tyler, 2010). He should also be given additional time to complete tasks. Due to Fred’s need to be heard, he would benefit from being given an ample amount of time to speak in class. Fred would need to be seated in an area of the room that was free of distraction and noise. This would mean away from high-traffic areas and preferably near the teacher and/or next to a peer who models consistent and on-task behavior (Smith & Tyler, 2010). Fred may also need to use a pointer or bookmark to keep track of words while he is reading, a timer to remind him of how much time he has left on a task, a word processor to type assignments in class, or other software programs designed for ADHD students (Smith & Tyler, 2010). To assist Fred with his organizational skills providing him with a PDA or a personal organizer to write down all assignments and due dates could keep him on track.
Classroom management is a technique teachers use to manage all aspects of the classroom and to keep all students on track regardless of their abilities or disabilities. A classroom management plan should be in place in all classrooms to provide students with a consistent, safe, secure, and nurturing learning environment. ADHD students in particular benefit from a classroom that is free of unnecessary loud noise and distractions. Fred would perform better in a classroom where he is taught time management and self-regulation and where the teacher warns him of all transitions (Smith & Tyler, 2010). Within the classroom management plan, classroom rules, procedures, consequences, and rewards should be established and maintained with frequency and consistency. Establishing, modeling, maintaining, and reinforcing rules, procedures, consequences, and rewards is key to addressing problem behavior. Children respond when they know what is expected of them and that there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior. All students are capable of learning behavior management skills and learning these skills will give students a sense of control in their lives. Consistency is key. Fred would also respond positively to frequent, immediate feedback and redirection when necessary.
To help Fred create and maintain effective study skills it would be my recommendation to begin by establishing a place solely used for school work. This area should be quiet, free of games, TV, or radio, and clear of clutter. The area should contain good lighting a comfortable chair and all supplies should be on hand. Fred should set up a study schedule that includes when and how long each day he will be studying. One study skill that Fred would benefit from is a technique to identify the main idea in a text (Sedita, 1999). The first step would be to write down the chapter title, then write down bold-faced section headings. Then he should ask “What is the one subject the author talks about throughout the paragraph?” to determine the topic. Then he should ask “What is the author saying about this topic?” to determine the main idea. Finally, he should highlight the topic sentence or create one of his own. Two-column note-taking is a method of note-taking that would make it easier for Fred to recall the main idea and corresponding details (Sedita, 1999). Other study skills Fred could use are flashcards, mnemonic devices, and graphic organizers (Sedita, 1999).
As a recommendation to Fred’s parents, it would be helpful to post a schedule for the week that includes pictures and graphics so that Fred knows what is expected of him for the upcoming week and/or day. In the house, things should be put in the same place and change should be kept to a minimum (Smith & Tyler, 2010). Fred needs to have specific rewards and consequences for all behaviors both positive and negative.
As a teacher, it is my responsibility as stated on Fred’s 504 accommodation plan to provide Fred additional time to complete assignments in class. I will provide Fred with a planner containing all assignments along with a detailed description and due date. Fred will be seated close to me and in an area free from distraction and noise. During times of class presentations and testing when Fred is required to focus for a prolonged period, I will re-direct him as needed and remind him of where his focus should be and the goal of his task. When testing Fred will be placed in a small group setting and be provided with extended time to complete the test. When grading Fred’s assignments I will not focus on how many items he has completed but instead on how well he mastered the content in the items he did complete.
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Sedita, J. (1999). Helping your child with organization and study skills. LD Online. Retrieved from www.ldonline.org/indepth/study.
Smith, D. D., & Tyler, N. C. (2010). Introduction to special education (7th ed.). Columbus