Before the diagnosis of ADHD was even a term hot on the tongues of most educators, there were plenty of kids suffering from the symptoms. ADHD in teens wasn’t a conversation until late in the last century. Even then, the thought was that once you were a teen, you were likely to have outgrown it.
But ADHD in teens looks a lot different than in children. Because the symptoms change but the diagnosis doesn’t, it could look to the untrained eye that the situation has resolved itself. In most cases though, that rationalization couldn’t be more wrong.
Most adults with ADHD can recount the days when teachers were breathing down their necks to pay attention in class. Girls with ADHD were disciplined for talking in class and daydreaming when they should be working on their assignments.
Boys had trouble sitting still, talking too much and causing mischief, which primarily looked like harassing their classmates. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
ADHD In Teens Looks A Lot Like Lack Of Discipline
When a teen is suffering from the effects of ADHD, how it gets demonstrated in the classroom for boys can be dramatically different. Where a boy with ADHD has trouble sitting still, ADHD in teens can be something as simple as a repetitive movement. Bouncing the knee, drumming on the desk, or other types of smaller ways to expend energy are common outlets for teen boys with ADHD.
Girls with ADHD as teenagers may exhibit a lot of the same traits they did as they were younger, utilizing over verbalization or daydreaming. When ADHD in teens is displayed in the classroom though, particularly when there has never been a diagnosis, teachers seem to be quicker to try and discipline the behavior out of the environment.
Much like their younger community members, public shaming or verbal discipline for ADHD in teens does more damage than good. In both genders, things like missing homework or frustration over not being able to answer questions because of lack of attention span can look like a poor attitude toward school or school work, rather than suffering from ADHD in teens.
Teens with ADHD are not trying to be a nuisance in the classroom more often than not. Trying to conform to standard classroom constructs is very difficult when your mind wants to focus on more than one thing at a time. Things said in the classroom can be the spark of an idea with ADHD in teens that takes them on a mental tangent away from the task at hand.
When a subject isn’t grasping their attention, the tendency is to get lost in something else. None of these are purposeful or meant to frustrate their teacher but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t end up happening anyway. The trick is dealing with it in a way that is helpful.
ADHD In Teens Without A Diagnosis Requires Strategy
If you are the teacher recognizing some or all of these symptoms in your classroom asking yourself what you are supposed to do about it, the answer is decided to start somewhere. The goal is to call attention to the problem, intervene, and get them on the road to feeling better about being more engaged.
It’s not just about performing well in school but being able to show up and do well at life. Ignoring the problems, hoping it will just go away is not going to help your student excel. Chances are, if your student has come this far without a diagnosis there have been many years of self-esteem damage. Undiagnosed attention deficit takes its toll on the sufferer. It might be that your student’s parents are waiting for someone to blow the whistle on what they see at home.
Starting somewhere is as simple as keeping note of the behavior. What kinds of symptoms does your student display that you think are symptoms of ADHD in teens? What do you observe and what are the circumstances that coincide with the behavior:
- How does your student handle stress?
- What do they say when you remind them to get back on task?
- How often are they missing homework?
- What are the behaviors they exhibit when the classroom is quiet?
- Are they able to easily answer questions when called upon?
Any or all of these questions, and some of your own is a good start. Keep record over several weeks. Let your school’s School Psychologist know what you are seeing in the classroom and come up with a plan to take this matter to the student’s parents in a way that is helpful and non-judgemental. Coming from a position of wanting to help instead of frustration over behavior will go a long way in getting parental buy-in.
How To Keep Record Of ADHD In Teens And Their Behavior
When you need to keep a record of a student’s behavior of any kind, how do you do that?
- Your mind?
Any of those record-keeping systems are widely employed by many teachers but how effective are they when it comes to collaborating toward a solution for your student(s)?
eCare Vault is specifically designed with education collaboration in mind. Where email is cumbersome, easily lost, and difficult to manage when there are more than two communicators, eCare Vault allows any number of people to collaborate around one student, no matter what.
Notes on paper are fine, but where do you store them? You can keep all your notes to share with anyone who needs to see them or make comments on at any time, anywhere; even from your own handheld device.
Education collaboration made user-friendly and accessible. That’s where it’s at. That’s eCare Vault.