ADHD encompasses inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These characteristics reflect behavior that is not tolerated in the classroom. Unfortunately, behavior is generally looked at as moldable and controllable. Which is why our children with ADHD are always being corrected and punished for unacceptable behavior in the classroom.
One day, a client of mine was very involved with a novel being read in the classroom. Apparently, his participation was stellar…..answering questions, following along, and expressing opinions. At one point, the teacher, quite stunned and pleased by his student’s involvement, actually stopped the class and asked my client why he can’t always participate in this way. “why aren’t you involved like this every day?”
HIS RESPONSE: BECAUSE SOME DAYS I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!
The teacher did not respond to this, although I suspect that in many cases, the child is reprimanded. I’m sure that at the very least, the teacher was disgusted and felt that this child was being disrespectful.
But in fact, this student through his impulsive remark, was being totally honest! He truly sometimes does not feel like participating . Why? That answer could encompass so many reasons…But it could be the fact that when children with ADHD are bored, they are impacted in a way that prevents them from overcoming this state. Yes, physiologically, they are unable to cope with boredom in the way we do who are not impacted with ADHD. We can muttle through a boring lecture, focusing enough to take in information and not create disruption. This student would physiologically be unable to attend.
Our kids with ADHD need structure and positive reinforcement. Rather than point out the negativity of the past, wouldn’t it have been nice for the teacher to positively state the constructive, academic nature of his involvement: a positive reinforcer for future participation.