The problem: Difficulty following instructions is a hallmark of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children may seem to understand and even write down your directions, then turn in the wrong assignment or execute it in the wrong way.The reason: A student with ADHD has difficulty focusing and sustaining attention. When instructions are given, she may not be “tuned in” at that precise moment.
Often she’ll hear the teacher’s first direction, then become distracted by other thoughts or stimuli. She may hear only bits and pieces, or hear and achieve only one of four assigned tasks. Difficulty processing language exacerbates the problem.The obstacles: A student may leave her class assuming that she heard and “got” everything right.
She may have listened as closely as she could, but still missed specific steps or directions. When she turns in work that’s done partially or incorrectly, it’s easy for teachers to become angry and frustrated. But giving poor grades will only make matters worse, since the child may come to believe she is stupid.[Free Guide: How Teachers Can Manage Classroom Behavior]Be mindful of the student’s tendency to wander mentally or to lose her place because of slow language processing skills.[Read: Supporting the Disruptive Child]At home, as well as in school, multi-step directions are almost impossible for children with ADHD to master.
There is just too much information to take in and retain.[Be That Teacher That Breaks Through]SUPPORT ADDITUDE Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible.
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