Behavior management strategies and resources for students with add adhd
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Behavior Management Strategies and Resources for Students with ADD/ADHD. Presented by the Child Development Counsellors Itinerant–Elementary Student Support Services. Welcome. Activity # 1. A brief glimpse into the daily struggles of an ADD/ADHD student.

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Behavior Management Strategies and Resources for Students with ADD/ADHD

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Behavior Management Strategies and Resources for Students with ADD/ADHD

Presented by the Child Development Counsellors Itinerant–Elementary Student Support Services


Activity # 1

A brief glimpse into the daily struggles of an ADD/ADHD student

CharacteristicsADHD General Information & Guidelines

DSM IV – TRDiagnostic Statistics Manual

Diagnostic Criteria for

Attention –Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Either (1) or (2):

    (1) six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:


    (a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities

    (b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

    (c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

    (d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish school-work, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to ODD)

    (e) often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

    (f) often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork and homework)

    (g) often loses things necessary for task, activities (e.g. toys , school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)

    (h) is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli

    (i) is often forgetful in daily activities

DSM IV - TRDiagnostic Statistics Manual

  • (2) six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

  • Hyperactivity

    (a) often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

    (b) often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected

    (c) often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate

    (d) often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

    (e) is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”

    (f) often talks excessively

  • Impulsivity

    (g) often blurts out answers before questions have been completed

    (h) often has difficulty awaiting turn

    (i) often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)

DSM IV - TRDiagnostic Statistics Manual

B. Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.

C. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g.: At school, or work or home)


  • Don’t see or think of the consequences of their behavior

  • Impulsive

  • Some will have little empathy for other individuals involved

  • Cannot transfer information from one situation to another

  • May react at a later time to an incident

  • Perception problems – see things differently

  • Inability to recognize social cues, norms (don’t interrupt teacher – rude, not knowing when to stop, doesn’t get humor)

  • Inability to wait

  • Difficulty listening/ Not following directions/ Defiance

  • Transition difficulties

  • Fear of accomplishment – fear of failure

**What ADD/ADHD looks like… continued

  • Offending others i.e. Pushing, shoving

  • Dangerous physical risk taking

  • Acting out feelings (persecution – can’t see that if he was the only person acting out that was why he got into trouble)

  • Limited physical boundaries

  • Manipulating people / events

  • Tantrums / anxiety

  • Disorganization

  • Forgetful


Anxiety Disorder

OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

ODD –Oppositional Defiant Disorder

* When Something’s Wrong

Conduct Disorder

Learning Disability

Tourette’s/Tic Disorder

FASD –Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Don’t be Fooled …Is it really ADD/ADHD? or another co-existing disorder(s)


  • Low self-esteem / Loss of motivation

  • Inability to build or maintain interpersonal relationships

  • Anxieties

  • Obsessions / compulsions

  • Over / under reacting (low affect)

  • Learning Disability

  • School Problems**

school problems


  • Have average fluency and performance on “short” reading assignments

  • Have “spotty” comprehension

  • Lose their place frequently

  • Forget what they read

  • Have difficulty reading silently (needing oral input)

  • Avoid reading (non-choice material)


Ingenuity /Creativity


Boundless energy

Risk takers



Sensitive to the needs of others





Good Hearted




Stretch BREAK



  • Pre-made response cards

  • Picture desk Cards/Silent Q’s

  • Non verbal Signals

  • Write-on response tools

  • Team A / Team B (full class games)

  • “Safe area (low stimulation area that is calm, relaxing, non-punitive; have props like soft pillows, music sensory toys)

  • Catch them being “GOOD”


  • Require 3-ring binder with pockets (from 3rd grade higher)

  • 3-hole punch all papers given to students

  • Consistent use of planner/agenda/assignment sheet. Provide parents with guidelines about their role – what they can do to help.

  • Colored folders to correspond with color coded: agenda’s, notebooks, unit sheets, handouts…

  • Include due dates on assignments and estimated time required to complete

Organization and Classroom and homework support continued

  • Assign study Buddies with phone number

  • Build cleaning/organization of notebooks and desk/locker/school bags into schedule

  • Provide a second set of books for home

  • Place copies of schedules in binders, lockers, and taped to desk

  • Provide more class time

  • Modify assignments, cutting the written work load

  • Limit amount of homework

Behavioral Contracting

Remove distracting items from the classroom i.e. overhead mobiles, kites.

Correctly place the ADHD child

Increase the distance between desks

See Appendices for additional information

Adapted from Harvey Parker, Ph.D

Self Monitoring

Teach listening skills

Establish eye contact

Vary voice tone and inflection

NB Do not use timers they only exacerbate the pressure and distractions

**Classroom Management

Corrective Consequences

  • Positive practice – Do overs

  • Brief delay

  • Time owed

  • Fining / Response cost

  • Parental contact

  • Restitution


Activity # 2

Creative, Engaging and Interactive Classroom Strategies

Creative, Engaging and Interactive Classroom Strategies

  • Get their attention before giving directions

  • Tell the students when and where to look

  • Keep directions short and clear

  • Have the child(ren) repeat

  • Provide clarity and structure for the students

  • Increase praise, encourage and reward increments of improvement and interaction (frequency, duration, intensity)

We Can Make a Difference

  • We Can Make a Difference

  • Change what you can control…YOURSELF(attitude, body language, voice, strategies, expectations)

  • Be fair, firm and consistent

  • Remain calm

  • Disengage from power struggles

  • Role model appropriate behavior

  • Give extra praise for a job well done

  • Choose issues carefully

  • Allow the child to vent before dealing with issues

  • Try to get an understanding of how the child “perceives”

    the situation first before trying to work through it

  • Deal with one situation at a time

  • Plan a response and avoid “reacting”

  • We Can Make a Difference

  • Affirm and acknowledge their feelings and your confidence in their ability to make good choices.

  • Use “what” questions rather than “why” questions

  • Use “when …then” rather than “If you don’t…you won’t”

  • Training and knowledge about Add/ADHD

  • Close communication between home and school

  • Team work / Administrative support

  • Respecting student privacy and confidentiality while being sensitive about not embarrassing or humiliating

  • BELIEVE IN THE STUDENT – do not give up when the plan(s) A, B, and C don’t work


  • Rules without Relationship = Rebellion

  • The more out of control one feels, the more in-control they need you to be.

  • F.E.A.R = Finding Evidence Against Reality

  • The Golden Rule = treat others as you would like to be treated.

Stretch BREAK

Activity # 3



  • The child who is totally out of control –

  • yelling, swearing, hiding under the desk:

  • a danger to self / others / property:

  • See appendix 9 for some suggestions

2. The child who can’t stay seated and who is constantly

falling out of the chair:

  • The impulsive child who blurts out in class

  • all the time:

  • The child who is constantly angry or upset

  • about something:

5.The child who is always irritating peers:


Your Questions and/or comments

Thank You

About the Presenters and their Resources

  • Leah Ferron, Kelly Lajeunesse and Lee Pedersen are Child Development Counsellors with the Near North District School Board. All participated in compiling this presentation based on personal experiences, previous workshops attended and some written resources purchased over the years.

    The counsellors wish to acknowledge the invaluable insights and strategies they have gathered from the following books regarding the subject of ADD/ADHD:

    When Something’s Wrong-Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation


    The ADD Hyperactivity Handbook for Schools – Harvey C. Parker, Ph.D.

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