Printer Friendly

Handling kids with attention disorders.

The nation's special education teachers, faced with an ever-increasing number of children with severe behavior problems, have found that traditional methods of disciplining youngsters simply won't work with some of their charges.

Cheryl McNeil, a clinical psychologist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, notes that many schools are being asked to handle severely mentally retarded or autistic children who previously might have been institutionalized. The main source of stress for special education teachers is a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affects approximately five percent of children in the population.

"Because of the high activity level, an ADHD child may need five times as much supervision as a calm child. If [such youngsters) ignore teacher requests or aggressively refuse to accept the supervision, their behavior can become uncontrollable. At the root of most misbehaviors is one factor--a basic disrespect for authority. Disruptive children don't view the teacher as an authority figure. From day one, teachers can 'overpractice' using minding drills, just as they would overpractice having a child learn his or her name by writing it over and over. A lot of the other behaviors will fall into place if the teacher can get the child to follow instructions."

In addition to the use of consistent consequences for noncompliance, McNeil stresses the use of intangible or social rewards. "Tangible rewards such as stickers can lose their value over time. We recommend that teachers rely more on praise, touches, eye contact, smiles, and giving special privileges. Those are the kinds of rewards always available to a teacher. They don't cost anything and they don't lose their value over time. Tangibles such as prizes can be used occasionally as extra-special incentives.

"Children who are severely hyperactive must be treated in a different manner than other children. The system of rewarding [them] with happy faces or stars

often doesn't work, because the children misbehave at such a high rate that they may never earn the stars--and they're the ones who need them the most."

Moreover, standard discipline practices of putting a name on the board with a check mark for each misbehavior is not very effective for hyperactive children. "They commonly receive several checks before noon and lose recess on a regular basis, making them even more frustrated. Clearly, innovative discipline approaches are needed to address the severity of behavior problems that teachers now face."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Words:397
Previous Article:Scandalous youth are nothing new.
Next Article:Clinton's style reflects the times.
Topics:


Related Articles
ADD: attention deficit disorder.
Prescription for restraint in ADHD.
Catch that Kid!
ADHD Meds May Worsen Adult-Onset Psychoses.
Med use widens in kids with ADHD. (Behavior).
Helping kids cope with impulse problems. (Hyperactivity).
Cerebral clues emerge for attention disorder.
Comorbid depression is aggravating factor in ADHD, yet goes undertreated.
Atomoxetine may benefit kids with ADHD, anxiety.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters