I have to send this letter by May 30th to Halifax!!! Does anyone have anything to add to my views of the way kids with ADHD should be teated in the classrooms?
Please leave your comment on this very important issue inside this blog! This is what I wrote-
Many MLA's believe that your mandate also includes the issue of Ritalin, but this is not the case. I am aware your mandate is to review the Inclusive Education Programs and Services in New Brunswick. The following are my views on inclusive education with regards to students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD).
Inclusion to me is every student with a Special Need will receive the best education that this province will allow. Of course, we must separate the rights of the child to be in a typical class, and concentrate on the need that would be most optimal for the special need student to learn. Therefore, enhancing the opportunity for the student to have a better quality of life for themselves and society.
The typical New Brunswick classroom often has a combination of students with more than one type of mental disorder. For example: ADHD, Autism, or Cerebral Palsy(CP).
For students with ADHD, often the classroom composition is disruptive commonly with increased noise levels, which impedes learning of the student with ADHD.
Students with ADHD are often labelled as "idiots" or "stupid" by their peers because they are on Ritalin. Conversely, the reality is these students with ADHD are often quite intelligent.
There are many great individuals with ADHD who have become global leaders with different expertise. For example: Bill Gates of Microsoft, Past-President Bill Clinton, Vince McMahon from the WWE( he told millions of viewers on 60 Minutes he has ADHD). Only an ADHD mind could develop a soap opera in the world of wrestling.
In the classroom, once the student with ADHD completes their assigned work the teacher should tell the student to go outside and run around. This is not realistic, but it bears reminding that the student with ADHD may require extra activities to keep him/her busy and mind occupied.
By implementing this strategy there is a reduced opportunity for the student with ADHD to act or get into trouble.
If circumstances are such that the ADHD student works outside the classroom, assurances must be in place that he/she will receive the same grade level curriculum as his/her peers, or higher if indicated.
Educators must hone in on the interests of the ADHD student, foster the interest to assist him/her to go on to lead a productive life. They must not be forgotten in the classroom.
To enhance learning in the classroom, a suggestion would be to have access to an FM System. The teacher will be speaking into a microphone and the student will be wearing an earphone. This permits the ADHD student to filter out background noise, and focus on what the teacher is saying.
You must understand students with ADHD are easily distracted, and today's classrooms are noisy.
Smaller classrooms are a must, and the teachers must be educated on ADD/ADHD, and be trained to implement effective strategies to teach them.
One word I truly despise is the word Special Assistant. I understand that the teacher needs help, but if a special assistant is always offering help to a student with ADHD, it could lower their self-esteem. Other students notice this kind of thing, and they can be very degrading to the ADHD student. Often leading to the ADHD student to be called "idiot" or "stupid". Truth is children can be cruel.
Of course, the atmosphere at home must be taken into consideration. Parents and teachers must be open to communicate with each other. If both parents are working, on many occasions, the time is not made available to help the student with ADHD to do homework or study properly.
The other issue I have is about Ritalin, however, I realize this is not your mandate to study this issue. The percentage of students taking Ritalin is at an all time high in New Brunswick schools. Therefore, these highly intelligent students must be treated with dignity by the Department of Education, School Districts, Schools and their Administrators.
Remember one thing. If we continue to degrade these students with ADHD, we can be preventing some of them from developing into our future leaders of the province or country.
Adult living with ADHD