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ADHD Students: Increasing Compliance in the Elementary School Classroom

There are several reasons why ADHD students might be "non-compliant" in your elementary school classroom. The most common are:
-- They are not paying attention to your instructions - spacing out;
-- They are ignoring you to do something more interesting;
-- They are being defiant.

ADHD: Ways to Increase Compliant Behaviors in Your Elementary School Classroom

Increasing Compliance in the Classroom

Listen to the child. They want to be heard too.

Provide a safe environment for the child. Make sure the child knows you are his friend and you are there to help him.

Treat him with respect.

Never belittle him in front of his peers. Both he and the other children know that he stands out, and if the teacher belittles the child, then the rest of the children will see that as permission from the teacher to belittle the child as well.

Give him a break once in a while. Know the difference between big things and little things, and don't confront him on each little thing. It is hard for these children to control themselves all of the time.

Be alert to how much movement they may need. Allow for some extra trips to the restroom, or to run some errands. You may want to allow him to run around in a designated spot in the play yard.

Help the child find his areas of strength so that he can build his self-esteem.

It is important to pair verbal praise with a reward. This will facilitate "weaning" from a concrete reward structure to an internalized system.

A simple nod, wink, smile, or touch on the shoulder can be very powerful reward.


More Ways to Increase Compliance in elementary school...

Instead of confronting your student continually on activities/behaviors that are inappropriate, point out the alternative choices that are available. This will make the expectations clearer to him and avoid the negativity inherent in what he would perceive as criticism.

Some students in elementary school respond to a prearranged cuing system with the teacher. In this system, the school teacher gives a visual signal (touching the ear) or verbal phrase ("Remember, I'm looking for good listeners") when a targeted inappropriate behavior occurs. The cue can remind your student to correct behavior without direct confrontation or loss of self-esteem. It can involve the classroom teacher or any support personnel available to the student.

Encouraging your elementary school student to monitor his own behavior has many benefits. It can provide an opportunity for discussion when your student and the teacher agree/disagree on the ratings. It also prompts movement toward your student's internal frame of reference in evaluating his behavior.

Remember that behavior that is rewarded tends to re-occur.

Behavior that is ignored tends to go away, unless it is anti-social behavior (which is self-rewarding if one "gets away with it").

Purposefully reward on-task and compliant behaviors ASAP to increase the likelihood that they will happen again.


Elementary School Intervention Pages:




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Information is presented by and the ADD ADHD Information Library's family of web sites. The information presented is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to replace appropriate medical advice. Always consult your physician or health care provider.

The information on this site may be printed and distributed to teachers and parents without obtaining the permission of the owners, as long as you refer to this web site specifically, and mention that the interventions are from our staff, and from other teachers.

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Find Hundreds of
Classroom Interventions,
Tips, and Tricks,
for Elementary School
in this section here.

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Classroom Interventions,
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in this section here.

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