ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom

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ASCD, 1999 - Education - 126 pages
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What does it mean to a kid to be labeled attention deficit disordered (ADD)? Or to have "hyperactive" added to the label (ADHD)? What can teachers do to boost the success of students with attention and behavioral difficulties? Are we relying too much on medication for these kids and not enough on new perspectives on learning, child development, the child's socioeconomic and cultural background, biological and psychological research, and the learner's emotional and social needs?

Armstrong urges educators and parents to look for the positive characteristics in learners who may carry the ADD/ADHD label. Are they bursting with energy? Are they intensely creative? Do they enjoy hands on learning? Are they natural leaders? Are they unusually introspective and reflective? We need to look beyond a "deficit" approach and embrace a more holistic view of learners that includes teaching to their multiple intelligences, learning styles, and other brain friendly approaches. For example, here are some classroom activities for kids who "can't sit still":

* Learning spelling words by having kids jump up out of their seats on the vowels and sit down on the consonants.

* Mastering the multiplication tables by forming a conga line, moving around the classroom counting from 1 to 30 out loud, and on every multiple of 3 shaking their hips and legs.

* Showing patterns of molecular bonding in chemistry class through a "swing your atom" square dance.


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Educational Perspective
Toward a Holistic Paradigm
Cognitive Strategies
Affective Strategies
Behavioral Strategies

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Page 112 - LaHoste GJ, Swanson JM, Wigal SB, Glabe C, Wigal T, King N, Kennedy JL. Dopamine D4 receptor gene polymorphism is associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mol Psychiatry 1996; 1: 121-124.
Page 105 - The normalizing effects of methylphenidate on the classroom behavior of ADDH children.
Page 109 - JL (1994). Quantitative morphology of the corpus callosum in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 151, 665-669.
Page 105 - Adelman, HS, MacDonald, VM, Nelson, P., Smith, DC, & Taylor, L. (1990). Motivational readiness and the participation of children with learning and behavior problems in psychoeducational decision making.
Page 106 - S. (1991 ). ADHD: A guide to understanding and helping children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in school settings. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
Page 108 - G. (1991). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Does cognitive behavioral therapy improve home behavior?

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About the author (1999)

Thomas M. Armstrong is a veteran of the early 1960s civil rights movement in his native Mississippi. He was at the forefront of early protests led by black Southerners for voting rights and equal public accommodations from 1958-1961, resulting in threats that had him running for his life. Mr. Armstrong moved to Chicago where he has resided since 1964. He remains closely allied with other former Freedom Riders and civil rights workers around the country and often speaks at schools and civic organizations such as the African American Leadership Roundtable in Chicago. He has been the subject of scholarly research by respected academics, sought after for major media interviews, and featured in print from critically acclaimed books to a Forbes magazine publication. The documentary "Freedom Riders" will be broadcast nationally on PBS in May 2011 and has been pre-screened at locations around the country from New York to Denver to Los Angeles. The movie is receiving rave reviews and Mr. Armstrong will be a featured panelist at well-publicized events where he will promote his memoir Autobiography of a Freedom Rider.

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