How to Deal with Persistent Disruptive Behaviour of Children with ADHD


Persistent disruptive behaviour can be very draining and demoralizing for you and difficult for the rest of the class. It may lead to school suspension or exclusion. If such a child remains disruptive and/or oppositional with frequent arguing, defying and pushing the school boundaries, even when medically treated for ADHD, specialist consideration should be given to whether the child might have associated oppositional defiant disorder. It is not uncommon for these symptoms to be worse in the home setting. They often improve when the core ADHD symptoms are treated.

If these problems are persistent, initially discuss with parents or colleagues whether any medication changes might be considered by the medical staff, and also whether any additional behavioural strategies might be necessary, as well as many of the previously mentioned educational strategies. Generally, self-esteem and social skills difficulties will not improve until this is effectively managed.

Disruptive Behaviour  Children ADHD

Other strategies worth mailing with these pupils include methods of communicating commands and rules by making eye contact with the pupil and saying his name, not giving too many instructions at once and framing the instructions positively and specifically. It is important to make the instructions brief and appropriate to the pupil’s developmental level, stating the consequences and following them through.

It can also be worth trying the use of daily charts leading to points and tokens. Try to foreshadow specific problem situations and, especially in the younger child, use the ‘time-out’ method. With adolescents, negotiating a contract can be helpful.

School suspension

While there are many reasons for children being suspended or excluded from school, pupils with ADHD and associated disruptive behavioural difficulties are much more likely to be so. Once suspended or excluded, or if possible in the lead up to this, consideration must be given as to whether or not an assessment is necessary to evaluate whether a condition such as ADHD is present.

The simplistic assumption that disruptive behaviour leading to exclusion is always the result of family or socio-economic difficulties must be dispelled. While this may be true in some cases, it can also be due to the presence of recognized conditions such as ADHD.

It is therefore wise for teachers to collate information to consider whether the child has, over the years, been persistently inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive, either verbally or physically, and whether this could have contributed to the suspension or expulsion.

Give careful consideration, following an assessment, even if it is done at a late stage in the child’s school career, as to whether or not the pupil can be effectively managed within mainstream schooling. Effective management can often make all the difference and enable a child to behave better and achieve more. Indeed, such an assessment can be part of the rehabilitation process and should involve the special educational needs department, and educational psychologist as well as a medical specialist.

Filed Under: Family & Relationships

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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