Going Mental: Accommodating and Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Students With ADHD

By Belal Nawar

There are various mental illnesses that can jeopardize our ability to learn and succeed in our daily endeavors. Our education system in Egypt must be more familiar with those illnesses to develop multiple approaches to accommodate those with mental disabilities and guide them to success. 

One of those illnesses that is rarely mentioned and needs more attention from educators is known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a mental illness that can strip away a student’s opportunity to succeed and proceed in his/her educational path. 

So, what are some signs and symptoms of ADHD

  • easily distracted
  • forgetting or losing things
  • difficulty listening
  • making careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
  • difficulty completing tasks
  • having a hard time resisting temptations 
  • difficulty getting along with others 

Other symptoms that usually manifest in children with a high pattern of hyperactivity and impulsivity often include; having difficulty staying seated in the classroom, constant motion, and interrupting others’ conversations. 

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Schools and higher education institutions should start thinking about possible accommodations and adjustments that can be done to boost a student’s ability to learn without making dramatic changes to the curriculum. 

 Accommodations that can be done for students with ADHD include:  

  • Extra time on tests
  • Instructions and assignments customized to the student
  • Positive reinforcement and feedback
  • Using technology to assist with tasks
  • Allowing breaks or time to move around 
  • Changes to the environment to limit distractions
  • Extra help with staying organized 

In addition, teachers can do several things to help such as being sensitive to the influence of ADHD on people with self-esteem issues, providing extra warnings before transitions and changes in routines, and understanding that kids with ADHD may become deeply immersed in activities that interest them and would need extra assistance to shift their attention. 

There should be more conversations on ADHD and how can we implement some strategies and accommodations that would help teachers perform their duties in the best possible way for students diagnosed with ADHD. Parents also can play an important role by accepting their child’s condition and supporting them however necessary. Nevertheless, just like any other topic, through conversations about the disorder, we can empower those students by giving them access to the same opportunities as their peers and the ability to succeed without feeling inferior. 

WE SAID THIS: Education should be inclusive, adapting the system to fit the needs of students, not the other way around.