ADHD, or attention deficit disorder, with or without hyperactivity, has a neurobiological origin, and a genetic component has been proven. It begins at a young age and lasts throughout life. A person with ADHD must learn strategies which facilitate their optimal development and ability to adapt to the different environments in which this will be managed: school, family, friends, work, etc. It affects behavioural, social and cognitive areas, and manifests itself in the difficulty to regulate behaviour in three main aspects: in paying attention, controlling impulsiveness and adjusting activity.
Children with ADHD are intelligent, but show disturbances of executive functions which cause them difficulty in organisation, in planning and in prioritisation, as well as attention deficit and haste in responding. Not all children present the same symptoms, nor do they present them with the same degree of intensity. There are three subtypes: predominantly inattentive, hyperactive / impulsive and combination.
Early identification and intervention is important, facilitating pupils’ understanding and their assimilation of strategies so that the typical characteristics of ADHD do not become a handicap in their learning and adaptation process. Also important are parents who understand and provide children with suitable intervention programmes, a school which understands their difficulties and helps them to learn, and a psycho-pedagogical programme which helps them learn to learn.
We know that not all people learn in the same way, nor at the same rate or in the same way. For this reason, our objective is for all pupils to learn and progress to become people with the ability to develop the best progress for their learning potential.
Teachers, tutors, psychologists and psycho-pedagogists who have the right training and sensitivity to understand individual differences and to understand and attend to the characteristics and needs which children with this learning difficulty may have.
We offer a specific plan for pupils who have ADHD, based on interaction which favours the pupil’s development, methodology which takes into account their cognitive style and learning difficulties, a flexible evaluation system, rules for coexistence which help them to channel their behaviour, psychological monitoring to ensure their best progress, and support programmes by professionals from the Psychopedagogy Department.
The specialist teachers at Areteia School understand and take into account pupils’ characteristics to help them to learn and to evaluate them. Our staff understand that these pupils’ lack of attention or hyperactive behaviour are consequences of their hyperactivity and not their lack of interest, therefore capture their attention by using strategies which encourage them to participate. Furthermore, our teaching staff show interest in adjusting the error, they help the pupils to redirect it, and most importantly, they make the pupils feel capable. This positive reinforcement improves their motivation.
In general, pupils with ADHD do not need curriculum adaptation which affects content and teaching objectives. They are intelligent pupils who can learn the same, but who require changes to be made to the organisation of the environment (close to the teacher, away from distractions, with classmates they can rely on), control of organisation patterns (order strategies, agenda control, supervision of material), a clear evaluation (specially supervised) and clear rules (anticipate and prevent situations which may cause problems, help the pupil to understand errors and agree to consequences).