Hyperactivity In Middle School
Middle school students with ADHD frequently have a very limited awareness of their “out-of-stepness”, so much so that they wonder what their teachers are tying to address when they say “slow down”. These students are unaware of the difference of their responses as compared to their peers.
The middle school student is at an age of developing self-awareness. The school team can channel this development of self-awareness by promoting their student’s self-awareness of their actions on others.
Research repeatedly indicates that change in behavior is easier to do when one understands what it is being changed. This revelation that the student was unaware of their hyper‑activeness was important.
Begin by focusing on self‑awareness in a limited setting. Perhaps begin by focusing on self‑awareness within the classroom. Provide specific instructions for the student to become aware of. For example, a student may be aware of a sense of restlessness prior to getting tired and wanting to quit a task. The restlessness [the student’s choice of word] needs to be identified as an important clue.
Students are encouraged to become aware of their pace of doing. These students are encouraged to politely and quickly scan around them to see if they are working at the same speed as their peers. A yes or no response is all that is required initially. The school team needs to know that they are seeing the same behaviors as the student is seeing.
Once the student has developed some self-awareness in the classroom, working within a less structured and more social setting would be of benefit. Students could be asked to identify and characterize their movements as either faster, same pace, or more slowed down than their peers while in the cafeteria or recess area.
Once self-awareness in a variety of school settings is demonstrated, the “what to do about it” becomes much easier for the student to solve for themselves.
The use of an elastic bracelet around the wrist can be helpful when gently stretching the elastic and allowing it to snap against the wrist. Research tells us that a quick change in reference point, a sudden physical action, serves to awaken the mind and to initiate a change in thinking.
When wearing the elastic bracelet, the elasticity can be stretched to cause a rebound snap. The sudden snap of the elastic bracelet is a private experience to awaken a shift in thinking. Take a few deep breaths and allow the student to think more clearly.
Really, what is occurring as your student takes these few breaths is that the chemical component of the fight and flight response has time to dissipate. After 3 slow, deep breaths, the cascade of stress related hormones cease production throughout the brain and the organs [especially the tummy].
Deep breathing, visualizing a calm forest or ocean scene, softly allowing the fingers to circle the thumb pad, and/or moving, (such as walking, repeatedly clenching the fists, jumping, or squatting); all of these serve to reboot the brain chemistry and allow clear thinking. With the unemotional intelligence of memory and practical experience, better decision making can occur.
Ideas on developing a student’s self-awareness are available through many resources. My book, Unique Learner Solutions, has great advice and is available to purchase on this website. I also invite you to contact me for a consultation session. The human brain is very interesting and the brain of a “Unique Learner” is so much more interesting! Thank you for your interest in “Unique Learners”!