Bullying- Signs of bullying and tips on how to help the victim and the bully

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Bullying

By Patience Domowski, LCSW

Bullying is such as big issue. It can cause anxiety, depression, eating disorders, even suicide. We’ve heard of school shootings as a result of bullying. Kids who are being bullied shouldn’t be told not to worry about it, or it’s just normal, because it's really affecting them in a negative way. Kids who are bullies shouldn't just be ignored, or just told to stop and not actually be disciplined for it. Most often bullying occurs at school, however it can occur in the neighborhood, in the community, on the playground, at summer camp, anywhere. Adults can even be bullied in the workplace. Sadly, sometimes children are even bullied by adults like parents and teachers.

 

Signs your child is being bullied:

-They suddenly don’t want to go to school

-They act anxious around other children or want to avoid the bus or school

-They regress in any way like reduced speech, potty accidents, less social, avoiding others

-They start acting angry for no apparent reason

-They talk about kids being ‘mean’, or call a sibling or someone else something you haven’t heard them say before (may have learned it from others)

-Being afraid or not wanting to go to certain places like camp, sports, etc (where the bullying may have occurred)

 

If your child is being bullied:

-Ask them if they are being bullied, and describe what bullying means (not just someone being mean occasionally, but constant put-down negative words, or physical aggression)

-Let them know it’s not their fault

-Tell them you will help them figure it out/make things better

-Try to build their self-esteem with some positive encouragement and affirmation

-Encourage child to tell the bully to please stop, say ‘that’s not nice’ or ‘I don't like that’.

-Suggest the child try to befriend the bully- sometimes bully children are just poor at knowing how to make friends and just want attention. If your child is nice to them sometimes the behavior will change.

-Otherwise suggest the child avoid the bully as much as possible, ask to not sit near them in class.

-Encourage the child to report the incident to the teacher or school counselor, if at school. (Some schools have a ‘Bully Box’ where you can put notes about incidents in them for the counselor to review).

-If child is too afraid to talk to school staff themselves, ask if they want mom/dad to step in and contact them. If the child says no- assess if the incidents seem severe enough the parents should step in regardless. Try to find out why the child doesn't want to tell on the bully- of they are worried the bullying will get worse or kids will tease them for being a ‘snitch’. If the parents tell, however, usually other students wouldn’t know.

-If the teacher or counselor fails to respond or doesn't do anything, follow up and go up to higher admin if the bullying is continuing and child is very affected. Recommend counselor talk to the bully child and the victim separately to work on the issue. Sometimes principals have to be involved. In some severe cases children need to change classes or schools.

-If incident is happening in the neighborhood or community- try to avoid the bully child if possible, parents can try to talk to the bully’s parents, if they are amenable to that. If severe- contact the police (such as physical assault for example).

-If child is very affected- severe anxiety, depression, suicidal statements, etc- have them talk to a crisis counselor or therapist as soon as possible.

 

If your child is the bully:

-Talk to them about how it makes the other person feel, and how they would feel it if was happening to them

-If they can articulate it try to have them say why they are doing this (to join in with others, because they think it's cool, they don't like a certain type of people, etc)

-Teach understanding and respect. Even if they dont like someone it doesn't mean they have to be mean about it.

-Provide discipline and consequences for bully behavior

-Work with the school counselor on addressing the issue, if it’s happening at school

-Encourage your child to make friends with others, especially if they are different to help them to be more inclusive

-Make sure as a parent you are modeling good behavior and not making comments about others that are rude or disrespectful that your child might pick up on. Again- even if you don't like a certain person or type of person it doesn't mean you have to be mean! Best to just do nothing if you can’t accept them.

-Have your child talk to a therapist if they continue to struggle. There could be more issues going on with them and they are taking it out on others.

To help your child decide if they are being bullied or not use this worksheet.

To help your child decide when to 'tell' on someone or not, use this decision worksheet.

 

Using a Fidget properly

fidgets

How to use a fidget toy properly
by, Patience Domowski, LCSW

Fidgets can be really helpful for kids with ADHD, Anxiety, Sensory issues, etc, however they MUST be used properly to help you stay Focused or else they will just distract you further. Here are the Fidget Rules: 

1)      It should be kept in your lap or inside your desk.

2)      You should be looking at the teacher, or focusing on your work on your desk, not looking at the fidget.

If you start to look at the fidget, are thinking about the toy instead of your class, or if the fidget becomes distracting to others around you- it is NOT being used properly and becomes a distracter instead of a helper. If that happens the teacher may take it away for a little while and then give you another chance later.

Bullying, or not?

bullying

Bullying is a hot term these days with "Zero Tolerance" school policies, etc. However sometimes kids get confused if someone is just 'being mean' or really 'bullying' them. Also some kids tattle on anything mean that is done, and other kids are afraid its not worth telling on even when they are being really bullied. So to figure out if your child is being bullied or not have them answer these questions on the Bullying Vs Meanness worksheet. Also if they are having difficulty figuring out when to tell or tattle see that decision worksheet and blog post on that topic.

Little Tattle Tales

dam beavers tattle tale

If your kid likes to tattle on classmates at school or siblings at home, it might help to have a conversation about "tattling" versus "telling" on someone, when its necessary.

Use this Decision Worksheet to figure out if you should tell an adult about something or not. 

When your child hates writing

frustrated child writing

I hate writing! and how to fix it
by Patience Domowski, LCSW

If you child says they hate writing and its causing an issue (at school, during homework time, etc) then figure out which aspect of writing is the problem and then you can work on the solution. You child may never love writing, and that’s okay, but they need to be able to write without a full tantrum, on a regular basis, to survive at school and there’s always going to be something to write in the future in their career and in daily life.

What do they hate the most? … and how to solve it!

1)     Physical aspect of writing- the moving of the pencil across the page. Maybe it hurts their hand or its difficult to hold the pencil

Solution: Try a pen or marker because it’s easier to write with (don’t have to push hard to get a result like with a pencil or crayon). Warm up their hands with some putty, playdough. Try a pencil grip squishy. Let them type instead.

If they really struggle with the handwriting aspect get an OT eval at school.

2)     Ideas – can’t think of what to write (for open ended assignments)

Solution: Give them ideas – two or three to pick from, or write a bunch of topics on strips of paper and put in a box and they can pick from the box.

3)     Time- takes a long time to write out answers.

Solution: Reduce the amount they have to write (If needs to be 5 sentences, settle for 3 or 4, for example). Have them type it or write with a different medium to go faster. Take a break between working.

4)     Bored – writing is too boring

Solution: Find topics that are interesting to the student. Make it a game. Listen to music while writing.

5)     Behavior- they just don’t want to.

Solution: Set up a reward system. They get a reward or fun activity after writing. At school- free time after finishing writing. Homework time at home- maybe get video game or TV time after finishing.

Some kids may struggle with writing for more than one reason. If you’re not sure just try a variety of solutions and see what works. Some ideas that work across problems include let them type instead of hand write, setting up a reward system where student earns a reward for doing their writing (without a fuss), and also having them write about something that interests them, and maybe even draw a corresponding picture (if they enjoy drawing/coloring). 

For some ideas for your stuck student see my Writing Prompts  download.

Homework organizer

homework list

I made a homework organizer worksheet for all those kids who are having trouble keeping track of their homework, turning in assignments, etc. Having things organized is a huge stress reducer for kids with anxiety and depression, and very helpful for kids with ADHD who are struggling with organization. Now just make sure they bring this paper back and forth to school! 

Download Homework Organizer Worksheet here! 

Autism/Aspergers and teaching social skills at home

autism

Autism/Aspergers

If you have a child on the autism spectrum you are probably realizing that parenting this child is extremely different that parenting neurotypical children.

[If you aren't sure if your child is on the autism spectrum have them evaluated by any of the following: their pediatrician, a developmental doctor, a licensed therapist, psychiatrist, Early Intervention evaluation team, child psychologist- either independent or at the child's school.

Signs of autism include at least some of the following symptoms -extreme difficulty with social interaction (including poor eye contact, difficulty understanding other person's tone or intent/meaning, struggles to make friends/initiate conversations, "tuned out", doesn't seek out others for interaction, doesn't understand emotions/how others feel), difficulty with communication (either not talking by age 2, barely talking, difficult to understand, difficulty with conversation skills/pragmatics/turn taking), repetitive behaviors/sensory problems (head banging, flapping, spinning in circles etc), restricted interests (will only play with dinosaurs, lines up cars, etc), other difficult behaviors (defiance, lack of focus, extreme inflexibility, difficulty transitioning between activities, needs a lot of help with basic life skills activities).] 

Children on the Spectrum need visual directions often, and help learning every behavior that most other kids will naturally pick up on without having to be specifically taught. I recommend find a good therapist and get them in a school/classroom that will meet their needs. Because autism is such a spectrum: from the severe nonverbal kids that might also have intellectual disability to the high functioning brilliant Asperger’s kids that your child’s treatment needs to be individualized and work best for their needs.

There is not really a one size fits all treatment for every kid on the spectrum but some basic tips include:

- use visual cues and directions

(social stories, picture schedules, show pictures or gesture/sign language of what you are asking them to do, write down reminders, instead of telling them what to do use picture cards or list the directions)

-don’t give long explanations just short, concise directions

With typical children explaining WHY is really helpful. With kids n the spectrum they often don’t care or don’t understand. Its usually just extra words they are confusing. SO just state what you want them to do in as a short a way as a possible. Example: “Put toys in box”- for autism child. For typical child you might say- “Please clean this room, because we are having guests visit tomorrow and I don’t want them to trip”.

-Teach and encourage your child to interact with peers.

Instead of expecting them to invite friends over to visit, you might need to take the initiative and invite the peers over and even teach/tell your child what they will play with. They might need some adult directives to play together instead of alone.

-teach them how to recognize and manage their own feelings as well as recognize and react to others feelings

Point out how you feel and how they feel so they start to recognize it.

Examples: “Mom is happy because you just gave me a hug! You can tell I’m happy because I’m smiling!” or “Dad is sad because you just kicked your brother. You can tell I’m sad because I’m frowning and shaking my head”.

“You seem so excited about going on vacation! I know you are happy because you are jumping up and down and smiling!” “You seem angry because your brother took your toy. I think you are angry because you have a mad face and are stomping your feet.”

-if they have sensory needs get them the sensory tools they need to help and a good O.T./therapy to help. [See sensory article] 

Homework battles

homework battle

Homework battles

If your kid is giving you a hard time about doing homework there are a few options:

-let the teacher handle it/school consequences

-set up a reward system

-don’t allow child to play/watch TV until homework is completed

-offer help if they ask nicely

 

Parents vary on their stances on homework such as:

 

-“as long as it’s done”

-“it has to be done perfect”

-“I have no idea if he/she did it or not”

There are pros and cons of each approach. The first one is pretty typical and avoids most battles but still makes sure the work is done, the second one makes sure child is learning the work but can involve a lot of power struggles because parent makes child do it over and over to get it perfect. The third one inspires independence for your child but if they aren’t doing it the parents don’t even know until perhaps they start getting graded on homework (middle school, sometimes earlier depending on your child’s school). 

ADHD tips for parents

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD- if you don’t think its “real” just ask a parent or teacher that has a child with this diagnosis! It can be so frustrating to work with a child with ADHD because they are usually a typical child with no delays or obvious special needs but yet they tend to lack focus, have to be told to do things that are a normal routine and they are usually unorganized and forgetful. Some kids are hyper and impulsive- sometimes in girls its hyperactive talkativeness instead of physical motor activity.  

If you are seeing these symptoms have your child/student evaluated by a doctor or therapist and get some behavioral therapy. Some children may need medications (even some adults too!) but some may do fine with only behavioral interventions.

Some strategies to try to teach these skills:

·         Fun focus activities: hidden pictures, mazes, word searches, etc (trains child to concentrate on something hidden which forces their brain to ignore the external stimuli/distractions)—can find lots of these for free online!

·         Play Simon Says game to work on following directions

·         Use reward system as kids with ADHD are often motivated by rewards!

·         Do “following directions coloring pages” and activities- up to 3 step directions. For example: “color the tree orange, the flowers purple, and draw a sun in the sky”—this teaches child to remember 3 directions at once. Can use it for motor activities too like a game where you give directions and they have to try to remember all of it: “grab your jacket, two shoes, and put on your socks”.

Tiperoo: don’t give a child TOO many directions at once. If they are having a hard time just give them ONE at a time until they master that, then move on to about 3 directions at once.

·         Make Checklists! Make one for morning routine, completing any task where they forget the steps -make a list and have them check it off daily! (can pair it with a reward chart). There are many free printable checklists online or you can make your own. Use this also for chores.

·         Remove distractions, like the ipad, preferred toys, etc, from your child’s room/view in the morning. You can reward them with play time if they finish their morning routine tasks within enough time (show them a timer or clock). [See Morning routine section under Section 1]

·         Use a Timer!! They are great to teach time management skills. You can download free visual timers on phones and ipads or order a ribbon timer or other visual timer from www.timetimer.com

Tiperoo: set a timer and have them “Beat the timer” as a competive game to teach them to move quicker through getting dressed, showering, etc

·         Have them clear/clean out their backpack weekly- remove all old papers, re-organize current necessary papers. Perhaps eliminate multiple folders and keep everything in one large binder or one folder with multiple sections to make things simpler. Try color coding and clear labeling of where things go (can attach to a reward chart for keeping it organized)

·         Clearly label and organize your child’s room/toy space for them and teach them to put things where they go (follow up weekly). For example bins/drawers for each clothing, toy, papers, etc.

Tiperoo: Take a photo of what the space or task should look like and then tell your child to make it look like the picture. For example their bedroom, desk, shoes/coat area, loaded dishwasher, toy bins, etc.

·         Keep their homework work space clear of distractions (visual and audio) by keeping it quiet area, no TV in background or other people, toys, etc. Check in with child often to make sure they are on task and keep working. Timers and little reminder cards can be helpful to keep them on track too.

·         Try a “keep working slider”. Put a button or bead on a pipe cleaner/string on a card and slide it along the card as your child completes their work so they can see their progress toward being finished. You can also do this with putting velcroed cards that say “start”, “middle” “end” etc or numbers 1-5 that you keep putting in a row to complete as they work so they can see their progress as well and know how much time is left to be done!

·         Take movement breaks between things that require a long time of sitting such as walking around/jump on trampoline between homework subjects, classes at school, long car rides, sitting through church, a play, movies, etc.

·         If your child is struggling in school ask the school to evaluate your child. Then request a 504 accommodation plan (this would include things like quiet space to take tests, teachers making sure they turn in their homework, extra time for assignments, sitting close to the teacher, etc) or IEP plan (includes goals for behavior and /or academics and may include specially designed instruction where teachers would have to tailor their approach to meet your child’s needs or may need to place child in a more appropriate classroom setting). 

Starting at a new school

starting school

Anxiety about starting at a new school

Tips ~ by, Patience Domowski, LCSW

1)   Tour the school alone (or with friends/family) [call office and ask]

 

2)   Attend orientation/group tour events – meet teachers and classmates

 

 

3)   Ask school if can come visit when no one is around during summer


Teens:

-get class schedule early

-chart route for classes

-practice walking the route

Kids:
                   -find out who teacher is
                   -check out the classroom
                   -play on the playground during summer

4)   Try to meet the guidance counselor over the summer [or beginning of school year. The school counselor is a great resource to go to when anxious at school]

 

5)   Try to make a friend before school starts- meet people at orientation, find out who in your neighborhood attends your school, or ask counselor to pair you up with someone

 

6)   Remember it will be fine. It will be fun. Try to look on the positive side. 

Pencil Problems

I made this to attach pencil to desk for student who drops their pencil alot. ADHD kids tend to have their pencil fall off their desk several times a day !!

First/Then

First/Then

This strategy is really helpful for kids with autism but it can work with anyone! You make a card with two sections and put a picture/or write what you want the child to do first, and then the second part is something the child prefers. This is used for work, play, eating, going places, etc! 

 

Anger Management

angry frustrated child

Helping your child calm their anger ~  Strategies for parents

~ by, Patience Domowski, LCSW

·         Remind your child it’s okay to be angry but they need to make good choices when angry

 

·         Make a list with your child of anger coping strategies and post it somewhere easy to see in the home

 

·         Model using anger calming strategies for your child and let them know you are using the strategy. (For example: “I am really angry right now that you colored on the walls. I am going to take some deep breaths to calm down.” or “I am really angry that you lied to me about your homework. I am going to go to my room to calm down and then we can talk about it later.”)

 

 

·         Name your child’s anger so they can recognize how they feel and also empathize with them. Just acknowledging the feeling can be helpful. Then offer a solution, if possible. (For example: “You seem really angry. I know its upsetting when your brother doesn’t want to play with you. It’s okay to be upset. Let’s figure out what we can do instead!”)

 

·         Notice what sets your child off and try to avoid it if possible. For example: If telling your child “No” makes them angry try saying “Yes, after_______” if they can have what they want after they finish something you want them to do (behavior, homework, chores, et)

 

·         Notice when your child is starting to escalate and bring it to their attention that they should use a calming strategy or if you know a situation is about to occur during which your child is likely to be upset prepare them to use a proper coping skill beforehand (For example: “I have to tell you something that will probably make you mad, please try to make a good choice and take a deep breath and let’s figure it out. Okay here is the news…”)

 

·         If your child needs time away to calm down- give them space instead of yelling at them. If you think it’s rude for them to walk away and if they cannot ask for space politely, try a “code word” which lets you both know you need some space to calm down. The word should be silly and respected if used.

 

·         Try a simple reward to help give your child an incentive to use their calming strategies such as a piece of candy if they use a strategy, or they get out of the something if they calm down, for example

 

·         Tell your child when they are calm we will discuss how to problem solve the situation

 

·         Try not to give them attention for making poor choices but more attention when they make good choices. Praise your child for making a good choice by calming down and focus on that good choice versus the other angry behaviors

 

 

Fidgets for Focus

Fidgety at school

Here's a tip: if your kid is fidgeting and having trouble staying seated or focused at school... Try a fidget toy like a squishy ball for him to hold. Of course if he throws it or gets out of his seat, take away the toy.

Function of Behavior/ Why is the child doing this behavior?

sibling behavior

Why? That is the question

If you can figure out WHY your child (or student in a classroom, for teachers) is doing what they are doing, you are much closer to figuring out how to solve the problem/intervene.

There are 3 basic functions for behavior (I know, shocking its so few, huh?!)
1. To Obtain/Get Something (or Get Attention)
2. To Escape/Avoid Something
3. For sensory input/stimulation

So look at what happens BEFORE the behavior (called the "Antecedent")
Then Look at what happens AFTER the behavior (called the "Consequence"- doesnt have to be negative or a punishment, in this case).

Here's an example:
Teacher says "Time for work". Child screams and throws himself on the floor. Teacher comes over and asks what's wrong and tries to talk child into doing work.
What do you think the function is?
Well it could be for (1.) Attention (from the teacher, even if the teacher is also going to punish the child), or for (2.) to escape work. Or is it (3.) the child enjoys making loud sounds? Hmm it might be a little bit of everything. (Some behaviors do hit all the above functions, and those are difficult!). So try different responses (whether changing the antecedent or the consequence) to see what happens.
So teacher says "Time for Work", Child screams and hits the floor. Teacher ignores. (Other children need to ignore too). Child then returns to work, or does another behavior (Okay then they want attention).
Teacher says "Time for work"; child screams, teacher sends the child out of the classroom to sit in the hallway, see the principal, etc. Child complies (and maybe even is happy about it). Likely reason is for Escape (child avoided work).

Another thing to consider is- is this behavior due to a skill deficit? For example can the child not do the work he is asked to do? Is it too difficult? Does he/she not understand? Does the child not have the skills (wasnt taught for example) to raise his/her hand and ask for help?
Teaching the replacement behavior (ask for a break or ask for help- for example) would be the best response.

To figure out number 3- the best test is to answer this question: If the child was completely alone, wasn't given any attention, and wasn't being given a demand (direction to follow), would the child do this behavior? If so, its likely for sensory stimulation.
 

Error Correction (Re-doing the expected behavior after making a mistake)

child walking with parent

"Error Correction" is an "in the moment" teaching opportunity.
Basically take the child back to where they made the error (physically) and "re-do" the behavior the correct way.

For example: You are holding child's hand walking in the store. The child suddenly runs off. You chase him down. Instead of just telling him "Don't do that again!" Take him back to where he started to run off and hold his hand and make him walk that same space.

Another example I can give from experience. I used to see a child for therapy in a daycare. When I would show up he would rolls his eyes and groan. I was teaching him social skills and that is not the proper way to greet anymore, especially an adult. So I said "Let's try that again" and I told him what the expected behavior was: "You should say "Hi Miss Patience!" when I arrive. So I went back out the door and came back, expecting him to use the right behavior. We practiced that awhile. Another client I had would stick out his tongue when I arrived. I tried the same thing. I would go back outside and re-knock on his door and have him greet me properly. After a few weeks of that (I only visited 1-2x/week) he now does it properly without having to "re-do" the greeting.

By redoing the behavior in the moment it helps the child learn "muscle memory" to remember what to do. Kids tend to learn better (and so do some adults!) from kinetic learning (using your body) more than just verbal learning. So acting out a behavior or role-playing a social scenario can teach the skill better than just lecturing or telling a child what to do next time without practicing it.

Rewards and Consequences - ideas and charts

reward chart frozen theme

Use of Rewards is extremely effective for kids, especially kids with Autism, ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), and related issues.
Find out what motivates your child. Rewards should be very individualized, personalized, and will vary based on the child's interest, age, and availability.
Rewards do not always have to be something bought like new toys.
Rewards could be :
-extra time (like stay up late, extra time on computer/game, etc)
-extra attention (play a game with mom/dad, go out somewhere with parents, etc...)
-special choice (pick what's for dinner, pick the movie the family watches, etc)
-trip out (for ice cream, accompanying mom/dad anywhere, playground, out to eat, etc)

Ask the child what they would like to earn or work for, and then negotiate.
If the reward can match the behavior that's even better! Like if they get all their homework done early they get to play a game with mom/dad or read an extra story before bed. Or if they do their chores (like set the table for example) they can help mom make dinner, if they like).

Reward charts can be about one specific behavior you want to increase, or used for several behaviors. The amount of time it takes to fill the chart should vary. For young children it should be pretty easy and often to get rewards (daily, or several times per day for extreme behaviors you are trying to stop), for pre teen kids usually weekly works, for teens, it should take longer to get rewarded (rewards for teens might be getting or using a cell phone, access to the family car, going on a trip/school event, things like that.)

Reward charts are super easy to make, print out, or even buy. Here are some of my favorite sites to find pre-made reward charts...
Super nanny reward charts  - info on how to make/use
Printable SuperNanny reward charts
Free printable reward charts
This site has alot of different types of charts
Chuck E Cheese Rewards - can't afford much? Use these Chuck E Cheese reward charts to get free tokens to play!


Types of reward charts:
Earn tokens/points/stickers to get to a goal (like need 10 stars to get reward)
Move along a track/up a chart/numbers to get to top/goal (move up from 1 to number 10 to earn reward)
Earn puzzle pieces to put entire puzzle together (earn the picture that is on the puzzle, or something else)

Opposite of a reward chart- a consequence chart could be losing tokens for misbehavior, or lose other things the child has/likes (take away a favorite toy, perhaps). I only suggest this method when you are trying to extinguish a behavior, not replace it with something else and rewards aren't working. Positive rewards are better, but you can try this strategy if that's not working or not possible with the type of behavior you are working on...

It's the "X" out the letters strategy.
For example a child keeps asking to go to the store when you already said No or Not now. Or a child keeps hitting or keeps doing something you want them to stop doing. A creative strategy I have used is to X out letters to something the child wants. For example I was working with a child who wanted to play with trains. I told him we have to do this and that first, then we can play trains. He kept asking me and I got really frustrated telling him same answer. So I wrote the word "TRAINS" on a white board, and told him every time he asks me I will X out a letter. If there are any letters left when we finish the work we were doing then we would play trains, if not, we wouldn't. After losing two letters, he got it and I never had a problem with that again! Another child I worked with wanted to go to the Pool but wasn't listening to what I was asking him to do- he kept screaming/making noises to be silly/clapping loudly for no reason, etc. So I drew 5 little pools on a paper, and I told him every time he does the screaming/misbehavior I would X out a pool. Once all the pools were gone, he couldn't go to the pool. He lost the pool one time (we used this method several times) and was usually pretty good after losing one X or two. Ive seen teachers use this method if the class is supposed to have a fun party and they are acting up that day (too excited or whatever). The teacher writes PARTY on the board, and every time the students are talking/not listening, etc she would X out a letter. They didnt want to lose that party so it was a good reminder to not get all the letters X'd out!

ADHD tips for teachers

ADHD boy at school

Impulse Control

  Teach child to control impulses using games like Simon Says

  Remind them to STOP and THINK

  Raise your hand silently as a cue to raise hand if child is calling out and wait to call on them until they raise their hand (ignore them if they call out)

Reduce Distractions

  Eliminate/avoid distractions in the room as much as possible

  Sit ADHD child in FRONT of the class so they avoid distractions such as other students

  Sit child so they do NOT face window, doors, highly decorated areas of the room

  Sit away from toys and computers

  Use a file folder “office” to block distractions

  For tests sit in quiet section like back of room where less children are around

Keeping organized and on task

  Many kids with ADHD cannot keep themselves regulated in If you can’t keep things regulated/organized INTERNALLY (in your head) you have to do so EXTERNALLY such as using calendars, to do lists, charts, sticky note reminders, etc

  Help kids stay on task using Timers (www.timetimer.com),  make reminder notes, have visual schedules, mark backpack/folders with reminder notes, completion checklists, picture schedule of the day, and other visual reminders

Reward systems/motivators

  Often children with ADHD, and ODD, and other behavior disorders (Autism, Disruptive Behavior Disorder, etc) do not have the internal motivation or desire to want to perform well, please parents/teachers, or achieve/succeed within themselves.  (Let’s face it we all have those days we’d rather play than work or learn! ) So they need EXTERNAL MOTIVATORs such as incentive/reward charts, tokens, behavior systems, earned allowance, etc. Basically find out what they want and then help them get that with doing the expected/preferred behavior.

  Reward systems/charts should be individualized, tailored to child’s wants, needs and interests. If child is NOT interested/doesn’t want the reward, its too hard to achieve, or its not related to them, they are highly unlikely to utilize it and actually do what you are requesting.

  Rewards DO NOT have to be Toys/Food (tangible) they can be –extra time, -special choice, -extra attention, -computer time at end of the day, -stickers, -coloring pages they enjoy, etc

  For younger children small token/reward charts work great. Make it achievable. They should be able to earn in an hour or day if they are very young, or weekly for kids who are a little older or have achieved daily rewards already.

  Older children should earn tickets/money/chips to cash in for prizes/rewards/ privileges

Other helpful tips

  place child closer to front of room, sit student next to a calmer student or away from distractions, call on child often to answer questions, or repeat back information, sit child in a chair versus on the floor

  Tap their desk/call name while teaching to get their attention

  Have them run errands/be helper for class to get out extra energy

Remind of expected behavior and establish reasonable consequences

  Tell children the expected behavior and the consequences if they don’t follow it – should be clear and concise. Remember if its simple they are more likely to hear it! For example “We are going to play musical chairs now. If you don’t follow the rules and get “out” when told, you can’t play the game again when we play next time” or “Now its time for art. If you splash the paint on the floor on purpose, you will have to sit out”.

Other disruptive behavior tips

  Out of seat on carpet/crawling around:

                                -try a chair, carpet square, move away a little from the group

·         Talking to peers next to them:

- move them away from that peer, put them next to calmer/quieter kids (boy/girl/boy/girl can work)

·         Fidgeting:

- try a fidget toy to hold (if that toy becomes distracter, take it away until they focus, then return toy to them to see if that helps. If not, fidget toys won’t work. )

-Sit on a fidget seat (School’s OT consultant should have one), exercise ball, or bean bag for extra sensory input.

  Butting in line/pushing children in line:

- put child at front or back of line, or several feet from others in line, remind of consequence “keep hands to yourself or you will have to go to back of line/lose recess/etc”

·         Have child take a walk/movement activity before having to sit for a while 

  Wandering around/not transitioning to correct center/activity:

- small chart/list of centers to choose from. They mark off each center they complete on the list.

  Not staying on task in the center:

                                - timer or task completion checklist

  Waiting/transition time - fidgeting/touching others/etc:

                                -suggest a wait game or sing songs during that time

Classroom Rewards and Consequences  for everyone

  Can be individuals earning stickers/rewards/tokens or whole class/group earns a collective prize:

For example if everyone is quiet they get extra 5 minutes recess, or if they are following directions all week, they get a special activity on Friday

  Consequences could include sitting out of the activity, not being able to sit with a certain peer, losing a toy or other privilege, and call to parents 

Remember:

  Be Consistent (keep rules the same)

  Be Fair (don’t always have one child be in trouble if several are doing same behaviors)

  Give Consequences/Follow through! (if you said it would be the consequence- then make sure it is! Child will learn from that and not keep making same mistakes!)

  Use Rewards !! (makes everyone more happy!)

Keep Working Slider

I made this "Keep Working" Slider for a client to help encourage him to continue to do homework and school work instead of needing alot of prompting from teacher/parents (He has one at home and school). The teacher can put the little bead on the "Get Started" far Left side, and then slide it along as he continue to work. When the bead reaches the far Right side he is finished and earns reward (snack, draw a picture, sticker, play time, etc). I think it will work!