The COVID-19 pandemic threw off everyone’s 2020 plans. The virus not only shut down our malls, schools, pools, and gyms — it shut down our way of life. Children went home one Friday afternoon from school, unaware that they would not be returning until August. There was no way to prepare ourselves for the reality that we would all be quarantined inside.
Learning from home via Zoom and only connecting with friends in online classrooms can be detrimental to social growth for any child, but the challenges for students with learning disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), need particular attention. The goal is to help children with ADHD and other disorders receive the same quality of education as their peers.
We all understand that there was no way around online classes once everyone was sent home for the school year. Teachers were forced to move lesson plans online, and parents have stayed home with their families for months. Without any time to plan, the idea to televise education inevitably left no room for children with learning difficulties. Children being asked to maintain classwork and schoolwork on their own with ADHD is incredibly difficult.
What Teachers Can Do
As educators, you care deeply about the children you teach and want to provide the best level of education that you are capable of giving. Check in on your kids who have ADHD/ADD. Reach out to the parents and see what you can do to help give these children the education they need. In brick and mortar classrooms, children with learning disabilities often have tutors and extra time for concept retention.
This resource is instrumental to a child’s development, and it would also be an excellent at-home resource for parents and children. Another way to help your students with ADHD is to continuously check your volume levels while teaching a live class. Some of your students may have sensory issues. If excessive yelling is used during your live stream, they may not be focused on what you’re saying, but how loudly you’re saying it.
Another thing to be mindful of is your movement. Arm flailing or pacing can be distracting for students with learning disabilities. Consider recording yourself teaching as if your students were in front of you. By reviewing these recordings, you’ll see if you sway, pace, make large hand movements, or fidget with your clothing.
What Parents Can Do
Having the entire world shift is stressful and unexpected, and it generates a lot of unnecessary stress on your children as well as yourself. If your child is struggling with ADHD and learning from home, they need your help as well. Carve out 1-2 hours every night or every other night with your child to help them with their homework or perhaps teach them a new concept at school.
There are plenty of free websites that can help with learning new concepts in math, science, language arts, or social studies. If you are feeling helpless, no worries! Reach out to your child’s teacher and let them know that your child is struggling. It is always okay to ask for help. Another great way to keep your children on task is to create a set schedule with your child.
Tell your child what they will be learning, why they are learning about it, and how long they will be learning it. It could reduce anxiety or restlessness if your child knows exactly how long the lesson will last, followed by an allotted amount of free time. If you are using Zoom or another online live classroom setting, make sure the lesson is recorded so your child can view the lesson in chunks and retain the information more effectively.
Realizing the Difficulties
It’s no secret that children with ADHD already have a difficult time learning in traditional brick and mortar schools. Now that they have to learn online from home with hundreds of distractions, the difficulty is likely even greater. It is challenging to keep the attention of a child with ADHD, so be prepared to spend more time instructing and teaching.
An ADHD diagnosis can be a challenge for people of all ages, especially today in the world of online learning and working. If you or someone you know struggles with ADHD, Achieve Concierge can help. We use mindfulness awareness techniques, medications, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and improve performance at school and at work. To learn more, call us today at (619) 393-5871.