Attention deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder among children and teenagers and this can make school a rather challenging environment. Those with ADHD tend to be more creative, think more intuitively and go on to find success in after leaving school in jobs of an entrepreneurial nature. It would seem that conventional methods of teaching and leaning are just ineffective and with the right methods having ADHD could actually be an advantage? Changing popular opinion can be half the challenge. A child can be very effected by the way other people see them. Its a common belief that a child with ADHD is simply naughty and difficult to teach. If a child becomes aware that they are seen in this way they will begin to believe that its not only true but impossible to change. People on the autistic spectrum will be familiar with this due to the popular stereotype many people think of when they imagine what someone with autism will be like before meeting them. It can be very frustrating to hear someone describe a person on the autistic spectrum as not having any emotions. By promoting alternative methods of teaching we can break down old fashioned stereotypical ideas around ADHD and other neurological conditions and begin to show people how a few simple, but highly effective changes can go a long way in improving the teaching environment and an individuals chances in getting the most out of life.
If we take ADHD for example and take a closer look at why a traditional teaching environment is often ineffective, we can begin to see how we can improve things. Those with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine receptors dopamine the feel good hormone. This means less sensitive to rewards ultimately making them feel bored and unstimulated by what keeps another individuals entertained. We also see a major difference for when we look at Neuroimaging brain scans . Normally a brain at rest shows activity in the default mode network and quickly switches over to the task positive network when you focus is required. But for ADHD brains the default mode network fails to shutdown meaning both networks stay active resulting in the decreased ability to concentrate. Scientist have also observed prefrontal cortex and ADHD patients which is responsible for attention control emotional regulation and response inhibitions. As a result of these differences Ritalin is often prescribed for ADHD. It helps to increase dopamine concentration in the synapse increasing the likelihood of binding to the fewer receptors. medication doesn’t seem to provide a long term solution and there is conflicting research on its overall ethicacy and concern over a number of side-effects. Yet prescriptions for Ritalin have doubled in the the last decade. but are we ignoring the dangers and opting for the easy short fix option instead of spending the time developing more long term solutions with teachers by using multi-sensory learning, cognitive behavioral therapy and talking therapies. Ideally, schools could give students regular one-to-one support, but the resources are often limited to the point where students with ADHD struggle and become disruptive to the point where parents are just left with the choice between medication or exclusion.
So how do you teach a kid diagnosed with ADHD? The answer: with a lot of patience, creativity, and consistency. Individual Strategies need to be explored and developed to help the students with ADHD discover their hidden talents, find a way to focus, stay on task, and learn to their full capabilities. One new and emerging teaching methods involve using learning GIFs. The GIFs immediate, looping, visual sequences are perfect for depositing information, ideas, concepts into the long term memory fast and efficiently and most importantly its done in an highly entertaining way. GIFs could also be used to animate widgit symbols that share information through pictograms rather than text. Animated widgit symbols would be highly effective for helping children with autism, ADHD or any other disability that requires any help with communication. In fact a GIF could become a totally new and exciting way to help with any form of communication, from sign language to speech therapy. GIF Hacks the number 1 GIF guide is leading the way by promoting the benefits in using GIFs for education and communication. GIF Hacks aims to design a package of GIFs that can aid people with communication difficulties breakdown communication barriers and make day-to-day life less challenging.