Impulsive Behaviors ADHD Teenagers in School

Impulsive Behaviors with Teen ADHD Students

  • One of the main characteristics of people with Attention Deficit Disorder is the tendency to act impulsively (acting before thinking about the consequences of their behavior).
  • Impulsivity often shows itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect.
  • Research suggests that ADD ADHD students can often verbalize the rules but have difficulty internalizing them and translating them into thoughtful behavior. Difficulties in waiting for what they want also add to the impulsivity.

Dealing with Impulsive Behaviors

Give your ADHD students a break once in a while. Know the difference between big things and little things, and don’t confront attention deficit students on each little thing. It is hard for ADHD students to control themselves all of the time.

One of the main characteristics of people with Attention Deficit Disorder is the tendency to act impulsively (acting before thinking about the consequences of their behavior). Impulsivity often shows itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect. Research suggests that ADD ADHD students can often verbalize the rules but have difficulty internalizing them and translating them into thoughtful behavior. Difficulties in waiting for what they want also add to the impulsivity. Some clinicians believe that this lack of “self-control” (poor regulation and inhibition of behavior), rather than their problems with paying attention, is the primary problem with attention deficit disorder.

  • One of the hallmarks of people with Attention Deficit Disorder is the tendency to act impulsively (acting before thinking through the ramifications of behavior).

  • Know the difference between big things and little things, and don’t confront attention deficit students on each little thing. It is hard for ADD ADHD students to control themselves all of the time.

  • Impulsivity often shows itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect. Research suggests that ADD ADHD students can often verbalize the rules in place but have difficulty internalizing them and translating them into thoughtful behavior. Difficulties in waiting for what they want also add to the impulsivity. Some clinicians believe that this lack of “self-control” (poor regulation and inhibition of behavior), rather than their problems with paying attention, is the primary problem with attention deficit disorder.

  • By having attention deficit students think “out loud” when they are problem solving, the teacher will gain insights into their reasoning style, and the process will slow them down before they respond impulsively.

  • Quite often, ADD ADHD students will make the same mistakes over and over again, both socially and with school work. Students with attention deficit disorder often have problems with taking turns, over interpreting others’ remarks as hostile, personalizing others’ actions excessively, and misreading social cues. With the help of your ADD ADHD student and his trusted peers, common problematic themes can be identified. Role play scenes involving these behaviors, preferably with his friends, identifying and practicing good ways to solve problems.

  • To teach your ADD ADHD students to slow down before they say things that they’ll regret later, encourage them to practice “stopping and thinking” before talking. Let them practice by encouraging them to wait about five seconds before responding to your questions. This one technique can help ADD ADHD students a great deal.

  • It is important for attention deficit students to identify a “support network” of peers and adults that can help give him hints about when to “slow down”. This group can also practice the “slow down” techniques mentioned in this section.

  • Students with attention deficit disorder can benefit greatly from behavioral interventions that are sensitive to their processing style. Rewards, or punishments, should be as immediate as possible. Changing the reward periodically is usually necessary. A major consideration in forming an effective behavioral plan is assessing what is workable for the classroom teacher on a regular basis. Some plans that require extensive charting do not succeed because the teacher can not follow through effectively within the context of the daily classroom demands. Keeping the plan simple and flexible is the key to success.

  • Have someone actively monitoring your ADD ADHD student during tests, especially multiple choice, fill in the “bubble” tests. He can get off track and fill in the wrong places or become so frustrated that he might answer at random to simply complete the test.

  • Emphasize that part of the work routine is to “check your work”. Students with ADD ADHD tend to complete work and turn it in without checking it over. Give the attention deficit student some instruction in how to check his work and practice it with him.

  • In assignments that require research reports and creative writing, have the ADD ADHD student dictate the words to someone rather than writing it down. The attention deficit student can then copy the words using the word processor. This technique will yield greater output on tasks requiring expressive written language skills by removing the written component.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D. MFTImpulsive Behaviors with Teen ADHD Students