Children with special needs are likely to present challenges to the classroom environment, teachers, and other students therefore we need to limit their distraction. There are many ways to make sure that classroom performances of children with disabilities are not hindered by the additional obstacle of distraction. It is vital that you consider the needs of each student.
Kids with special needs do not only face challenges in their own ability to learn, but also face challenges from others just because they are different. It is impossible to prevent being distracted by them from time to time, but you can reduce it by adjusting your attitude, thought, and behavior. This article will discuss several strategies used in classrooms and ways that teachers can deal with children with special needs in the classroom
Is it possible to limit distraction in children with special needs?
Students with disabilities have some special needs in the classroom. It is an important aspect to teach them effectively. But, there should be some limits to these special needs to avoid distractions in the classroom. There are many things that you can do to limit distraction in children with special needs in the classroom. Here are the best ways you can use:
1. Avoid exposure to digital screens for teaching
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends a classroom environment in which students are not exposed to digital screens. “Teachers and families should not allow more than one hour of screen time per day, as it is associated with sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and attention problems.”
Of course, sometimes it’s necessary for children with disabilities to use these devices in school as part of their education. If that happens, it’s important to limit the duration of exposure and make sure that the child is properly engaged during its use.
2. There must be Quiet areas for kids to work independently
The importance of being able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand is a key life skill that all children need to learn. However, for many children with disability, this is an area of significant weakness. The reality is that most classroom activities are highly distracting for a child with special needs.
In the classroom, there must be a variety of ways to help kids manage their own time so they have some choice over what they do and when they do it. It will be a good idea to have individual “work stations” set up in quiet areas where students can go to work independently.
3. Provide breaks and movement to keep students alert
The right classroom environment can go a long way toward helping students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) stay focused and engaged in their schoolwork. Educators are beginning to find ways to limit distraction in children with disability in the classroom by incorporating physical activity breaks and other types of movement into the day’s schedule.
Limiting distraction in the classroom is important for all students, but it’s especially critical for kids with autism. Research has shown that children with ASD have more difficulty than other students when it comes to self-regulation, or the ability to control their behavior, emotions, and impulses over time. These “self-control” skills are essential for paying attention and learning in school.
Physical activity breaks — also known as “fidget breaks” — can help students focus on their lessons, improve their social skills and increase academic performance. Teachers can structure these activities into daily routines in a way that limits distraction in children with special needs in the classroom and helps them get the most out of their lessons. The key is to incorporate movement whenever possible and make sure it’s not disruptive to other students or teachers in the room.
4. Start with one disability at a time in the classroom
Often, the presence of a child with special needs in a general education classroom can be disruptive. The dynamic is often characterized by anxious or behaviorally inhibited children who exhibit behaviors such as wandering away from the teacher, repeating words and phrases, and swinging their arms. This distracts the other students from learning and leads to an overall negative experience for all involved.
Start with one disability at a time. If you have more than one child with disabilities (or any student who has difficulty sitting still), it’s best to start off slow so you don’t overwhelm yourself or the class. Focus on one student’s specific needs and make accommodations for him or her, then move on to the next student when necessary.
5. Educate the family of students with disability on how to work with their child at home
When looking at ways to limit distractions, the first thing you should do is talk to your child’s parents about his/her disability. There are ways that you can work together at home and in school so that your child does not become a distraction in the classroom.
One way is by working together with your child’s parents to create a special schedule for your child every day; this will help them focus in class and not become distracted by anything else going on around them.
6. Limit the amount of change in your classroom.
Change is a part of life, but it can be especially hard for kids with ADHD or autism.
If you or someone else in the classroom is making multiple changes at once, there are two things you can do to limit the distractions for an ADHD child. First, streamline the changes. When you’re making changes in response to something, make just one change at a time — either add or remove something from the environment.
Numerous studies have shown that change is distracting and can be emotionally challenging for children with autism. The cry, “I hate change!” is not uncommon in the homes of parents of children with autism. This is why it’s important to limit changes to your classroom to those that are necessary for the learning process.
7. Understand what causes the child to act out.
It is important to understand what is causing your child to act out in order to be able to limit distraction in children with special needs in the classroom. If you are trying everything you can think of and nothing seems to help, then it may be time to seek professional help.
Trying to deal with a child’s acting out behavior in the classroom can be quite frustrating, especially when the acting out behavior is not related to any particular person or activity in the class.
Children with ADHD have problems paying attention. They also tend to be disorganized and impulsive. Their inability to focus on one person or activity for any length of time can cause them to appear extremely distractible. A student who has ADHD may also have difficulty following directions because it requires him or her to stay focused on one specific task.
This makes it hard for him or her to follow classroom rules that require following directions from the teacher and from other students. In addition, because these students have trouble listening carefully when someone is talking, they tend to interrupt others during classroom discussions and especially during lectures by the teacher.
8. Limit the damage caused by bright colors or decorations you add to your classroom
Children with disabilities have a hard enough time trying to concentrate in school. The last thing you want to do is add to their distraction by bright colors or decorations that distract from the lesson you are trying to teach.
So how do you know if you are distracting your students? A good rule of thumb is, if it stimulates you, it probably stimulates your student with a disability. That’s because children with disabilities often have heightened senses of sight, hearing, touch, and smell. This can make them more easily distracted than their peers.
It’s a well-known fact that children with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be overstimulated in the classroom, causing them to be unable to concentrate. That’s why it’s important to limit distraction by using colors and decorations in your classroom that are neutral or low contrast.
9. Screen and block too much light.
A lot of children with disabilities face many challenges at school. They have difficulty concentrating and paying attention for most of their school lessons. Exposure to light can be one of the major reasons why they find it hard to concentrate. For a child that has trouble concentrating, the classroom is like a garden of distractions and this is because of the additional light that comes through the window.
Trying to limit the amount of light in a classroom can help but it is also important to control it because too much sunlight can also scatter around quite a bit. This can make it harder for students to see what is on their teachers’ blackboards or whiteboards. There are some ways that you can limit the amount of light coming into the classroom.
10. Set up routines and schedules that help the children feel safe and secure.
When children with special needs start school, they may be anxious and feel as though they are different from their classmates. It is important to help the children feel safe and secure in the classroom. A feeling of safety and security will help them focus on learning. Here are some ways to make the classroom environment safe and secure:
10.1. Create a routine
Children with disabilities can be easily distracted by changes in the routine of the day. A predictable schedule will help them feel secure in the classroom.
10.2. Use visual schedules
Visual schedules can be placed on a bulletin board or chart that shows activities of the day, such as lunch, recess, and quiet time. Some visual schedules are created using pictures or symbols, while others use words or sentences.
10.3. Create a consistent location for belongings
Designate a place where each child can keep his or her backpack or other belongings during school hours. This will help them always know where their belongings are located.
11. Adopt a narrative storytelling approach in the classroom
The narrative storytelling approach is one of several strategies which educators can use to make learning more effective for students with ADHD. Teachers can implement this method by telling stories with a beginning, middle, and end. These stories could be about a certain topic or situation in everyday life or from history.
Students will learn important lessons as they listen to these stories. Each story should have an element of suspense that will keep the students’ attention and interest alive. As the teacher narrates these stories in class, he or she must take into account any student who might prove distracting and do something about it.
12. Be consistent in your actions always
As a teacher or parent of a child with special needs, you might find it difficult to handle the situation of disruptive children. It is important to be consistent in your actions always so that children with a disability could understand what you want them to do. This will limit their distractions and hence ensure them a better learning environment.
Children will learn more if their surroundings remain the same and if their daily routine is consistent throughout the week. This will help them concentrate on schoolwork rather than worrying about what they will do after school.
Conclusion – Ways To Limit Distraction in Children with Special Needs in the Classroom
At alphaTUB, we believe that all young children are deserving of a quality educational experience regardless of any special needs that they may have. It’s crucial, however, for teachers to understand their unique needs and environment in order to best cater their students to a well-rounded learning experience. Doing so is essential to ensuring that each child is able to learn at the appropriate level of their ability.