From Frustrating to Flourishing - Supporting Students with ADHD

Found in: SCEA News | Published on: 19 July 2017

Dr Michele Toner presenting at the 2017 Better Education Conference

During the Better Education Conference at Swan Christian college I attended the workshop held by Dr Michele Toner, who currently works as an ADHD coach, completed her PhD on the topics and is soon to release her first book on ADHD.

Dr Toner began the workshop by challenging some existing beliefs or myths about ADHD. The media frequently reports this condition in a very negative light and presents misinterpreted data and evidence. Evidence based research demonstrates that ADHD is; a real condition with genetics being the main cause, not an excuse for bad behaviour, not over diagnosed (only 1.25% of Australian children are currently diagnosed) and not only for children who exhibit hyperactive behaviours.

Dr Toner went on to describe the three subtypes of ADHD and spent time discussing how ADHD affects the executive functioning of the brain and how these affects can be inconsistent. Children can struggle with activation, focus, effort, controlling emotions, memory and putting things into action.

She equipped us with a list of strategies that we could use for our students with a diagnosis such as; make time visible, externalise memory, chunk and dot point tasks, give students a list and a timer, ‘sprint’ to finish with small time targeted goals and discreet fidget objects (not fidget spinners). Dr Michele concluded by stressing the possible negative effects of ADHD on a student’s self-esteem and encouraged the use of a ‘success diary’ to celebrate their achievements.

Summary by Hollie Johnson