How do I affectively teach specific students that I am struggling with who have specialities?
I focused my SpEd inquiry on one student in my class in particular who has been diagnosed with ADHD. This diagnosis does not qualify for an EA even though he could definitely use the help. I have been having an especially difficult time with him throughout this practicum and try to find ways to work with him. Two important points that this student has taught me:
- Get to know your students. Make an effort to connect with them everyday to find out their likes, dislikes, passions, and who they are. Have conversations with their parents if you can to discuss his behaviour. You can learn so much about a student by finding out about their home life. The sooner you understand a student, especially one with specialities, the easier you will be able to understand why the student is behaving as they are and you can connect with them better.
- Once you get to know the student, see if you can take preventative measures before the day or lesson starts. If you know that a certain exercise will trigger specific students, have a conversation with them ahead of time so that they are not surprised. Connecting with their EA’s first so they can have a conversation with them or have another activity they could do instead. Have a conversation with the student a head of time to discuss behaviour that they are working on and come up with strategies that can help them with this.
- The Zones of Regulations. These books are so helpful for both the student and the teacher. The students can learn how to describe how they are feeling by saying if they are in the blue, green, yellow, or red zone. By knowing what zone they are in, the student advocate for themselves and can come up with strategies to help them while they are in that zone. The book also provides strategies such as breathing exercises if the student is in the red or yellow zone. It is so helpful for the teacher to know what zone their students are in so they can understand and appreciate when a student makes the initiative to choose a respectful chose and works with a strategy to calm them down. Self Regulation!
2. Create a Check list. Once you have had conversations with your student, taken the time to get to know them, and had conversations before/after class to try and prevent negative behaviour, take this a step further. Focus on a positive behaviour that your student is working on such as being kind to others, making respectful choices, or following instructions. Once you both have agreed on a positive behaviour (let the student decide too, they need to be able to advocate for their own self-regulation strategies) create a check list. Make an agreement with the student that for every time they do that positive behaviour they will receive a checkmark. If they get up to 5 or 6 check marks a day (however many you agree on) then they get to spend 10 minutes on the iPad or computer. There are many websites such as http://www.knowledgekids.ca that are fun, thinking games that kids love. This is a reward system and it works very well with the student that I have been having difficulty with.
For my student with ADHD, once I started using the checklist he started making an effort to use strategies from the Zones of Regulation book that I was trying to get him to use. I have found this very helpful.