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Many times classroom intervention can help the student to learn without the danger that prescription stimulants like Ritalin bring with it. It is easier for schools to medicate the kids, but is this best for the kids? It is easier to NOT teach our children to cope with their impulses; however, they must eventually learn to curb their impulses.

How will they learn? If the schools start to implement many new interventions that have been recommended by many psychologists. Yes, schools are institutions and those institutions are very slow to change, but we, as parents, need to nudge our schools along.

What is ADD or ADHD?

ADD or ADHD means Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Some children are only ADD, displaying the following symptoms: daydreaming, impulsive behavior, an inability to concentrate, problems with staying on task, problems with written expression, impaired social skills, emotional immaturity, and many other factors that can make learning difficult.

Other children are ADHD, which means that they not only have many of the above symptoms, but they also exhibit symptoms of increased energy and a need to be in constant motion. There is a common myth among teachers and others that non-compliant behavior is notable in these children. Non-compliant or disobedient behavior is not ADD or ADHD behavior.

How many kids are ADD or ADHD?

Various statistics show that between 1.5% and 10% of children are afflicted with at least one of these diagnoses. Other studies show an alarmingly high amount of ADD and/or ADHD children. These studies estimate that the percentage of school-age children with this disorder is closer to 20%.

Strangely though, several different states within the United States cite much higher rates. The public school records indicate that the national percentage of students on drug treatment for one or both of these disorders is between 20% and 30%. This is both puzzling and scary! Does this mean that there could be environmental factors? Does this mean that some kids are being medicated without proper diagnosis? There are not conclusive answers for this as of yet.

What can you do to help your ADD or ADHD child?

Teachers and schools are not always willing to try new things. Many resent having to do extra things to help special children. Many times there are very simple techniques that can be implemented in the classroom, easy interventions that make a world of difference. Sometimes teachers and principals need some added persuasion from the parent of an ADD or ADHD child. Become your child's spokesperson. Your child's education is worth it!

Parents sometimes must push hard for these modifications to the classroom. If you must, even become the school's worst nightmare. You must also keep the ball rolling so to speak. Keep in contact with the school. Become involved in your child's education!

You must demand a change in the curriculum and the way your child is taught if you want him or her to become a successful student. Most people do not like to rock the boat. Many parents want to be 'popular' with the teacher. Don't you think that your child's education is more important than being well liked by the teacher and the school administration?

What changes could help our current education system?

Since ADD or ADHD is closely related to both Autism and Tourettes Syndrome, there are many things that we can learn from advice doctors and psychologists give those patients also. In elementary school, there is much that can be done to enrich all children's learning experiences. These are simple interventions that take very little of the teacher's precious time. Some of these are even basic common sense. Here is the list.

A Few Interventions and Study Tips that Work for the ADD Child:

1. Use a YELLOW highlighter to emphasize instructions on worksheets. Yellow because it is soothing to the eyes. (An ADD child's eyes are very sensitive, plus this helps them to concentrate.)

2. Use visual teaching techniques whenever possible. (Many ADD children are very right-brained and very visual.)

3. Include kinesthetic learning opportunities. (These are hands-on type of learning experiences or labs.)

4. Homework time for the ADD child should be as soon as possible after arriving home. Be sure to give the child a snack and take occasional breaks during this study time.

5. Allow movement in the classroom. (If there is ample opportunity for movement, the kinesthetic learner will thrive.)

6. Send the ADD child on many errands. (This not only makes the child feel important, boosting self-esteem, but also gives the child many more opportunities for movement.)

7. Interact physically with the child. (A touch on the arm or head can keep his or her attention on task.)

8. Foster a good relationship with the ADD child. (This will make the child try harder.)

9. Expect excellence from the ADD child. Most ADD kids are very bright.

10. If light bothers this child, you might want to try tinted glasses. Some ADD children are very sensitive to light.

11. Sometimes ADD kids are very sensitive to sound also. This is why other children close by may make it hard to concentrate. (Try using a small amount of cotton in their ears. If they are still unable to concentrate, try moving the child, but be sure to move OTHER children as well.)

12. When a child goes off task, simply remind him or her of the assignment

13. Do not punish the child for fidgeting and picking at things like a pencil or eraser. This is normal, energetic ADD or ADHD behavior.

14. Refrain from embarrassing the child or disciplining the child in front of his or her peers. (Since the ADD child struggles with socialization, this is very crucial. The teacher must be careful not to distance the child. This will not increase the amount of teasing that the child must endure either.)

15. Encourage the child and the child's parents to involve the ADD student in many sports and other activities. Usually, the ADD child thrives in a busy, bustling environment.

16. Never discipline ADD behavior, but offer them ways of coping with those impulsive urges.

17. Always discipline non-compliant behavior! This is when the child willfully disobeys rules and limits. (Using positive reinforcement helps, but punishment on the basis of consequences is also effective.)

18. Never punish by withholding sports or other school-related activities. The ADD child must stay active. A better punishment option is the restriction of TV viewing, computer time, or a time-out. (Make sure the time-outs are not more than fifteen minutes.)

Make sure that you use these techniques with the guidance of your child's parents, doctors, and psychologists. Many times a good dose of common sense coupled with creative and innovative techniques from leading psychologists can be the best advice. Let's bring those grades up!