Behaviour Management

The behavioural management system that teachers usually use for their classrooms is one that is designed for non-AD/HD students. This is very often the root of the problems that teachers experience when applying this system to children with AD/HD.

Students with AD/HD need:

  • immediate rewards
  • ongoing positive reinforcement
  • individual accommodations for time spent on seatwork, etc.

As a result, the regular behavioural management programme used in their classroom may not be a successful one for such students.

A more effective strategy for teachers would be to use a modified version of their usual behavioural management system in their classrooms, one which they design carefully with AD/HD symptoms in mind. This would then be the one used for all their students.

There are several models available from behavioural therapists, AD/HD organizations and AD/HD specialists. One such model is 1-2-3 Magic Behaviour Management for Teachers, which was developed by Dr. Phelan, Clinical Psychologist and author of a number of books. This book can be ordered by using the form in the appropriate section of this website for delivery in Belgium.

This behavioural management system is used widely by teachers in the US and the UK with significant results, and most teachers in Europe can find ways to adapt the information to fit their own particular classroom needs.

Children and adolescents with AD/HD have usually had negative experiences since a very young age. As a result, they usually lack:

  • self esteem
  • self-belief
  • motivation

This can also be a factor in the negative behaviour patterns they exhibit with some consciously developing a negative persona to make them more interesting. This needs to be reversed and it can be done by adopting a behavioural management system that is based on rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing bad behaviour. Therefore, one of the most important elements of a good behaviour management programme should be:

Positive Reinforcement:

Operate a points system, rewarding good behaviour instead of focusing on the negative behaviour.

Decide on rewards that act as an incentive to those students who will find it difficult to sit still and control their impulses.

Don’t expect perfection immediately as this type of programme takes time to implement successfully. However, when it begins to work, it can transform the teacher’s experience in the classroom.

  • When a child’s self-esteem is low, it affects his/her motivation.
  • If a child does not believe in him/herself, it affects his/her motivation.
  • If a child only hears criticism, s/he finds it difficult to be motivated.

Separate behaviour from student by:

  • not labeling the student because of it;
  • making sure the students know what you are condemning;
  • not allowing other students to label their peers as a result;
  • showing the student that you still value and appreciate him/her;
  • not holding grudges; and
  • focusing on what the child does right.

Teacher Education about AD/HD is crucial to the development of a good behavioural management system for the classroom. Teachers do not have to wait until this topic is offered by their school; instead, they can find it at our events, which are always designed with this in mind.


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