Educators from Currey Ingram Academy, a Nashville-based boarding school for children with learning differences, including ADHD, offer information about the disorder in today’s spotlight topic.
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common learning disorder present in more than three million children in the United States. According to administrators from the ADHD boarding school, many students with an attention disorder have difficulty sitting still, practicing self-control, and paying attention in class. Unfortunately, in a standard classroom environment, these children are often viewed as having behavioral issues because they are disruptive to other students.
Signs of ADHD
You would be hard-pressed to find a student from elementary through high school that did not have the occasional hiccup when it comes to following directions. Daydreaming, drifting off in class, and being bored are all common and normal behaviors in children. However, children with ADHD struggle far more than their peers when it comes to things such as attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
Inattention may point to ADHD when the child has immense trouble staying on task. They may not listen to directions, and this may be construed as defiance when an educator is not trained to recognize ADHD. Boarding school teachers at Currey Ingram explain that smaller class sizes, more one-on-one time with the students, and providing direct and explicit instructions are all strategies that can help with inattentiveness.
The second indication of ADHD is hyperactivity. Keep in mind that most children are hyperactive sometimes. Students with ADHD may be like this all the time. They might have trouble being quiet when it is requested and often can not sit still even when they know that getting up or moving their hands and feet is inappropriate. One strategy that Currey Ingram employs to assist students with hyperactivity is block scheduling. Students in the school’s boarding program are given 15 to 30-minute breaks between classes. This offers an opportunity for the student to move around. Further, their days begin with a mentoring session, and classrooms are set up ahead of each day to provide an appropriate environment for learning. Lessons are written on the whiteboard, and any potential schedule changes are noted as early as possible.
Impulsiveness is also a sign of ADHD and the one that administrators at the learning differences boarding school note can get a student into the most trouble. Impulsive individuals react before they think. They tend to take more risks than their classmates and might be looked at as unfriendly; it is not uncommon for a student with ADHD to take things that belong to others without permission. Impulsiveness is also seen in risk-taking behaviors.
To assist with impulse control issues, Currey Ingram’s boarding school implements tactics to minimize disruption. This might include a daily report card, which can help students target positive behaviors, such as remaining in their seats, participating quietly and appropriately during instruction time, and following their teachers’ directions the first time given. Students may also receive positive marks for staying focused and getting to class on time.
Can a learning differences boarding school help?
For a student with learning differences like ADHD, a boarding school with teachers trained in special education can make a huge difference. One thing that Currey Ingram teachers do differently is focus on positive behaviors. Instead of issuing demerits or losing privileges for inattention, students with ADHD receive praise for desired actions. Further, students who are in school with their peers that also have learning disorders may play off one another’s positive behavior through an underlying and highly encouraged system of peer modeling.
Visual aids and progress tracking are used to help students create goals so they can receive motivating rewards. As an ADHD-focused boarding school, Currey Ingram also emphasizes predictable routines. Days are streamlined so that students with executive functioning skill deficits have fewer things to remember and can thus function and focus with fewer distractions.
Each day and boarding school student in grades 9 through 12 receives a daily planner. These are used in conjunction with things like color-coded materials and electronic calendars to help with organization; it is not uncommon for students with ADHD to lack organizational skills.
Young adults with ADHD are not learning impaired, but they do have challenges that other students do not. Fortunately, with persistence, patience, and practice, this and most co-occurring learning differences may be overcome.
If your child has been officially diagnosed with ADHD, a boarding school can help them achieve their true potential. Contact Currey Ingram today at 615.507.3173 to schedule a campus tour and find out more about what the school has to offer.