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Inclusive Classrooms:

ADHD and Effective Classroom


Management Strategies

Saina Talai Sahneh


SID: S00215436
Like many other western countries, Australian classrooms are becoming increasingly inclusive
due to the rise of diverse student populations. In today's classrooms, teachers educate a diverse
student body; from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to challenging behaviours
and special learning needs. In consideration of achieving inclusive classroom environments, this
study aims to explore the recent research surrounding issues of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) management in classrooms. Although there is a broad array of research on this
subject, this review undertakes an investigation to identify the most effective strategies in
managing behaviours of students diagnosed with ADHD.

Multiple empirical research have discovered that students with ADHD are at great risk of
problematic school and academic outcomes (Barry, Lyman, & Klinger, 2002 and Bierman et al.,
2013). In their research, DuPaul et al. (2004) establish the significance of ADHD's effect on
diagnosed children and compare the data with the non-ADHD students. They examine the degree
to which ADHD symptoms conduct problems, effects their behaviours and academic skills of the
students. With a relatively small sample size and preselected students ADHD who were already
facing academic difficulties; DuPaul et al. (2004) analyse that academic achievement of children
with ADHD, with those of non-ADHD students. While this factors may be some of the minor
limitations of this study, the findings seem relevant and credible. This study confirms that
children with ADHD exhibit significantly lower rates of on task behaviour and display more
disruptive behaviour and poorer social skills than their non ADHD peers (DuPaul et al., 2004).

Considering the academic underachievement's of children with ADHD, research indicates that
classroom interventions including antecedent based, consequence based, self regulation or
combined interventions, could benefit students with ADHD, and provide positive effects on their
behaviours. DuPaul, Eckert and Vilardo (2012) examine the validity of this claim and study
school based intervention and its effects in improvements of behavioural and academic outcomes
for children with ADHD (pp. 388-389). By classifying their research into three school-based
intervention categories, including academic intervention, contingency and cognitive behavioural
management, they present a strong and well supported study to validate the positive effects of
school based interventions in improving children with ADHD behaviours. Similarly, Gaastra et
al. (2016) conduct a systematic research to deliver a credible article that analyses the

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effectiveness of different types of classroom interventions for students with ADHD. By
employing quality methodologies and effective statistical procedures, Gaastra et al.'s article
verifies that classroom interventions reduce off task and disruptive behaviour in students with
symptoms of ADHD, while consequence based and self regulation interventions demonstrated
the strongest effects in classroom management (Gaastra, 2016).

In search of effective classroom intervention strategies and enhancing the learning environment
for students with ADHD, Mulligan (2001) conducts a quantitative research and surveys general
education teachers to verify the classroom strategies that they frequently use and identify as
effective approaches in improving students' performances. Their study suggests that simple
classroom routine and structure strategies such as preferential seating, providing frequent
contact, and using scheduled motor breaks are more effective in managing children with ADHD
behaviours than implementation of more negative behavioural techniques such as time out, and
developing individually tailored behaviour plans (Mulligan, 2001). While the finding of this
study are relevant, misinterpretation of the survey could be a limitation of the study, as it may
have affected its overall results.

Geng (2011) takes the study of effective classroom intervention strategies further and
investigates teachers' verbal and nonverbal strategies for managing students with ADHD
behaviours. By examining the effectiveness of gestures and body language, Geng's research finds
that the nonverbal teaching strategies, such as gently touching the student or highlighting the
important information for them, could attract their attention more effectively and help in
enhancing the learning environment for students with ADHD (Geng, 2011, p.25-26). While
Geng's research is limited by its small sample size, its findings seem realistic and valid. This
research considers the individuality of each child and the variety of their responses, while it
validates the effectiveness of implementation of behaviour management strategies tailored for
the individual needs of each child.

Although a large body of research addresses ADHD classroom management issues from the
teacher's perspective, very little research has been conducted to provide insights into the
perspective of ADHD diagnosed students. By identifying this gap in literature, Honkasilta,
Vehkakoski and Vehmas (2016) establish a research niche and interview thirteen ADHD
diagnosed students and analyse their views to elaborate on the importance of taking the students

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voices into account. By employing a narrative framework, their study investigates the viewpoints
of students diagnosed with ADHD and provides a non judgemental analysis of the students
accounts. Honkasilta, Vehkakoski and Vehmas (2016) diminish biased interpretations of students
responses through systematic coding procedures of the grammatical and contextual features of
their collected narrative. Also by conducting a collaborative research method, they strengthen
their analysis further and present credible results.

Today, Australian classrooms are more inclusive due to the rise of diverse student populations.
Based on current research, students with ADHD are at great risk of problematic school and
academic outcomes (DuPaul et al., 2004). A growing body of research provides empirical
evidence that school based interventions are critical in the education of children with ADHD as
they impact on their attitude; reduce off task and disruptive classroom behaviours (DuPaul,
Eckert and Vilardo, 2012 & Gaastra, 2016). In a search of effective classroom intervention
strategies and enhancing the learning environment for students with ADHD, research indicates
that simple classroom routine and structure techniques are very effective in managing children
with ADHD behaviours; while clear verbal and nonverbal instructions are critical in drawing
students attention as well as their behaviour managements (Mulligan, 2001 & Geng, 2011).
Overall, the review of the pertinent literature suggests the need to greater considerations of
students views. These children are generally bright students who can process information
effectively, therefore, their voices should be heard. So, Empower, not Control: how can we
empower the students with ADHD, so they can help us, help them?

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References

Barry, Lyman, & Klinger. (2002). Academic Underachievement and Attention-


Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: The Negative Impact of Symptom Severity on School
Performance. Journal of School Psychology, 40(3), 259-283.
Bierman, Coie, Dodge, Greenberg, Lochman, McMohan, & Pinderhughes. (2013). School
Outcomes of AggressiveDisruptive Children: Prediction From Kindergarten Risk Factors and
Impact of the Fast Track Prevention Program. Aggressive Behavior, 39(2), 114-130
DuPaul, G.J., Volpe, R. J., Jitendra, A. K., Lutz, J. G., Lorah, K. S., & Gruber, R. (2004).
Elementary School Students with AD/HD: Predictors of Academic Achievement. Journal of
School Psychology, 42(4), 285-301.
DuPaul, George J., Eckert, Tanya L., & Vilardo, Brigid. (2012). The Effects of School-Based
Interventions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis 1996-2010.
School Psychology Review, 41(4), 387-412.
Gaastra, Geraldina F, Groen, Yvonne, Tucha, Lara, Tucha, Oliver, & Neuropsychology across
the Life-Span. (2016). The Effects of Classroom Interventions on Off-Task and Disruptive
Classroom Behavior in Children with Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:
A Meta-Analytic Review. PLoS ONE, 11(2), Urn:issn:1932-6203.
Geng, G. (2011). Investigation of Teachers Verbal and Non-verbal Strategies for Managing
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Students Behaviours within a Classroom
Environment. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(7).
Honkasilta, J. Vehkakoski, T. and Vehmas, S. (2016) 'The teacher almost made me cry' Narrative
analysis of teachers' reactive classroom management strategies as reported by students
diagnosed with ADHD. Teaching and Teacher Education 55, pages 100-109.
Mulligan, S. (2001). Classroom Strategies Used by Teachers of Students with Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Paediatrics, 2001, Vol.20(4),
P.25-44, 20(4), 25-44.