I have a class currently who often need some help to sit quietly and listen. Sitting still for any length of time, either at desks or on the carpet can be very challenging for many in this group. As a teacher, I understand it is challenging to sit still and listen. I have gum, or snacks in meetings or sit and doodle if they are long. Do I have ADHD… who knows but I do know fidgeting helps me listen. Fidgets seemed like a good aid to introduce to help those struggling to sit still and listen.
Here are some of the fidgets we offered:
Textured Bean Bags come in a variety of textures and a great price for a set of 12. The six pairs have fur, flannel, wool, satin, corduroy and velour textures. Great for promoting sensory skills. Machine washable and dryable. The white furry ones are my favourite.
DNA Balls are filled with mini spheres in hot neon colours. The multi coloured balls form a different mosaic pattern after every squeeze. It’s visual, tactile and irresistible.
Tangle Therapy is made to maximize hand, joint and muscle motion while providing a one of a kind feel and action. The soft pliable rubber coating and distinctive raised tactile nodes give a relaxing sensation while twisting it in your hand.
Clear Sensory balls with bright colourful pellets inside. They make a satisfying gentle sound when being played with.
The alternative seating we implemented a few months ago is also helping students focus. Reminders about the need to respect the seating are needed ongoing as our students change monthly and sometimes weekly or daily. I do believe giving students options and encouraging them to become aware of what works best for them, enables better choices and better learning.
Fidgets are suggested to help students with ADHD concentrate better, and considering many students in the class are already fidgety, giving them permission to fidget seemed like a good solution. The selection of fidgets were introduced with rules inspired by Mrs Parsons at The Grading Scale:
The rules were explained, translated where possible and are reinforced daily. Every student wanted a fidget initially but after a few days the novelty wore off and some students declined. Using fidgets is not always smooth as new students are unfamiliar with the expectations of how to use it without distracting others however I believe the benefits out weigh the teaching effort needed.
Yesterday we had a break through. A student was struggling to sit still during an activity where he was writing and colouring. The lead teacher gave him a fidget and said “I think you need this for a little while”. He sat down, coloured while playing with the fidget in his other hand and worked peacefully. Ten minutes later he returned the fidget to the teachers and said “thank you”. This was a huge step for us in class 2. Having a student recognize when they need help to self regulate is what we are aiming for. In this case the student identified that he no longer needed the help, the fidget had worked to calm his body and help him achieve his goal of finishing his task.
I do not know if any of my students have ADHD nor do I need to know. I only know what they bring to the classroom and that is usually apprehension, experience of trauma, excitement and a drive to learn. I hope that I can begin to help them settle into a life in Canada and prepare them for the Canadian school system in the short time they are with us at NEEDS. This is a wonderful reminder for us all as educators:
Bill of Rights for Misunderstood Kids
Bill of Rights for Children with ADD
HELP ME TO FOCUS…
Please teach me through my sense of touch. I need “hands-on” and body movement.
I NEED TO KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT…
Please give me a structured environment where there is a dependable routine. Give me an advance warning if there will be changes.
WAIT FOR ME, I’M STILL THINKING…
Please allow me to go at my own pace. If I’m rushed, I get confused and upset.
I’M STUCK, I CAN’T DO IT…!
Please offer me options for problem solving. If the road is blocked, I need to know the detours.
IS IT RIGHT? I NEED TO KNOW NOW…
Please give me rich and immediate feedback on how I’m doing.
I DIDN’T KNOW I WASN’T IN MY SEAT…!
Please remind me to stop, think, and act.
AM I ALMOST DONE…?
Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.
Please don’t say “I already told you that.” Tell me again, in different words. Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.
I KNOW IT’S ALL WRONG, ISN’T IT…?
Please give me praise for partial success. Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.
BUT WHY DO I ALWAYS GET YELLED AT…?
Please catch me doing something right and praise me for the specific positive behavior. Remind me–and yourself–about my good points when I’m having a bad day.
(Discovered in Jan Zeiger’s article in TeachersNet.Gazette and taken from http://adhd.kids.tripod.com/bill.html)