There is good news and bad news.
Bad news – 75% of children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are victims of trauma. (David Love, PHD)
Good news – we can teach children how to overcome symptoms of trauma
Good news – no matter the cause what we do in the classroom can support learning and happiness
Good news – you are probably already doing the right things
4 Facts about trauma victims and school
FACT 1, kids who are nervous about home life can be fidgety, distracted and anxious during different parts of the day. Engaging them in experiences and activities that are of high interest can help them focus better.
FACT 2, kids who feel out of control because of home situations better tune into assignments when they are presented with choice.
Choosing What – “Which story do you want to retell? This story or that one?”
Choosing How – “Would you like to write a list or a letter?”
Choosing When – “Do you want to start with math facts or the reading summary?”
Choosing Where – “Do you want to work at your desk or up front by me?”
FACT 3, kids that have a low self-esteem frm suffering an act of violence or any victim situation thrive better with encouragement. Praising what they have done so far and encouraging them to meet goals because you believe in them can get them to the finish line. Whether it is one paragraph, one math page or one project.
FACT 4, kids with an unpredictable home life that go from going the “reason” to being ignored do better with consistency, clarity and consequences. This is most important and I am going to take a minute longer to explain. Consistency creates predictability and a sense of safety. Clarity of expectations and directions lets them know exactly what they need to do so they do not have to worry. The littlest anxiety can create a bad day without the teacher ever knowing what happened. Finally, consequences. do not play a pity card when it comes to rules. In the classroom moment it might seem the best idea to let a child wander the room to and from the pencil sharpener or refuse to share. But, when they see you making an exception to the rules allowing them to misbehave the message they feel is that you too, do not think they can do as well as other. Allowing them to perform to a lower standard reinforces their belief that they are not as good as their peers. This doesn’t mean you don’t accommodate needs or adjust tasks. It means if your class rule is groups wait to be called before leaving, he/she waits. If a child needs permission to get more paper from the cupboard, that includes them as well.
In many ways children in our classroom are no better off than children in war torn countries. I am not going to include the horrid details. I am sure you know. Homes are now all like the Cleavers or more timely, “Modern Family”.
If you are not sure if a child has ADD/ADHD or suffers from trauma, you can refer them to onsite counseling but in the end, good teacher practices help all of them learn.
Finally, I want to offer my support in making accommodations for struggling students in your room. I have a product in my TPT store but if you would like to become part of my online teacher tribe I will send it to you free. Just follow this link.
If you already are on my friend and teacher family list but didn’t get it, just send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and I will sent it out ASAP.
Teacher is such an important job, I thank you for taking your time to read my post. I hope you found value and are sitting a little taller knowing you are making the best leadership choices in your classroom already.