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ADHD ? Not a chance

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I've just cracked on through the first week of 'Understanding ADHD' with King's College, London completing it in a little over 2 hours. I think I can conclude from this that I am not ADHD, that I am feeding my curiosity and therefore defeating my greatest bugbear - boredrom, at every turn. That's not to say I don't present with some of the symptoms. That I take on too much. Am impulsive. Sometimes a little paranoid. Misread people's motives and have more of a 'flight' than 'fight' response to circumstances. But was this course ever about me? I think it is about another family member, and recognition that a number of diagnoses disorders run through the extended family. And I will come across it poolside with kids age 6 up and in college with teenagers. 

I only wish we lived in a culture where more was done inside the extended family to accommodate our disorders and differences rather than expecting sociatel conformity. We cannot expect the community or the state to pick it all up. They never had to. If ADHD is a human trait then it has been around for ever. What happend if you were ADHD in the time of the Pharaohs or Romans? You'd not have to worry about being spolit for chocie as a slave. Is ADHD a disorder of easy times? 

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What does ADHD meant to you? The nice folk at King's College London want to know:

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Impulsively curious to the point of statis.

I was a hyperactive child age 5 or 6. I was diagnosed ADHD in 2002. This was overturned on a trip to the the adult ADHD Service in London. I don't suppose having a couple of cans of Stella beforehand would have influenced the outcome in any way. Exactly as my mum was told in the mid 1960s - he's too clever and easily bored. The NHS unwilling to treat 'my' ADHD found me securing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. A few years of that helped with whatever goes on in my head in relation to activities/inactivity, getting things done, or not ... over thinking a thing or not thinking at all.


I love the posters Dani Donovan of ADHDDD.com produces.

They ring true. That said, if I am ADHD then my brother in law is ADHD on steriods. It helps to be married to someone who is understanding. There have been many times in my working life where having an assistant to work with me has been crucial - they pick up the pieces and keep me pointing in the right direction. Ritalin was a laugh; I asked to come off it as I could see it become addictive. It helped me focus and work at speed! Have I said too much? That sounds familiar ...
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Certification in Further Education and Training

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It's for real. I am, yet again, and possibly not for the last time, a student. Cool. I matriculated for my first degree 40 years ago. I've done three further undergrad and postgraduate courses since at each of the School of Communication Arts, The Open University and jointly between the Universities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton. I can now add the University of Brighton.

The smirk on my face is realising that I will once again have access to a library and university resources online, in particular journals. I love to explore. Some might call it getting lost down a rabbit hole, but I spend so long scratching about - with purpose, that I always come up with something interesting. It is how I learn. I indulge my curiosity.

Meanwhile, the approaching fear is for nothing more than a 'micro-teach' and some of the first formal assignment elements completed. I don't half make a big meal of these, which is why I so prefer to 'written exam' at the end of the year; I like the build up to the end of year show. It generally is alright on the night. I feel at this stage I don't know much, that I am not fluent.

My OU experience, which will be here in the data somewhere, is that over the five modules of the MAODE and the two further modules I did 'out of interest' and as an MRes looked a possibility with a PhD after that, my grades went from a pass, to a pass, to a pass and the occasional Merit and then a Distinction. An OU pass is anything over 40 and I did get a 42 for a TMA at some stage. My first TMA for the Research module came in with a cool 92 and the feedback from my tutor that I appeared to be in my 'natural environment' stripping apart the work of others, challenging assumptions and the facts and proposing better approaches. So much for not following that up sad 

We know why. I know why. ADHD gets into everything. It does manifest itself as a rogue 'one / off' switch, as procrastination or enthusiasm, and as self-doubt and mild paranoia, the choice that an easier route is better than the best route. 

Meanwhile, I have lessons to line up and classes to give. I will be running a workshop in November, and taking a class online each week imminently. I am also setting out my stall as it were, for a number of 'commercial' blended learning opportunities. 

The greatest pleasure of all of this, despite the challenges, is knowing what will be on my mind for the best part of two years: I will be returning to this blog and its contents and adding to it. I will be mulling it over, and then seeing where all theory and learning aimed at HE can be applied in FE. (Though at GBMET there are both and I am involved with both).

Onwards. 

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Using TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) with Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

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Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities [SEND]

My interventions, advise and efforts to date have been aimed to students without specific needs. I am now looking at what provision is available for our SEND students and how I can support them and their tutors.

SEND students will have difficulties with:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Behaviour and social development
  • Physical or medical needs

Differentiated and personalised, even 1:1 teaching is required, rather than the teacher teaching from the end of a classroom and hoping to keep order and anyone engaged.

Personalisation and carefully structured lessons are key.

The aim is to provide help so that students can access the parts of the general curriculum that is available to all students. It is at the frontline of accessibility. Assessment is important as there is a constant need to understand and develop students’ progress. Observation is equally important. 

 

Some things I can read about (the rest I will have to pick up first hand)

  • If too detailed some students may feel threatened and disillusioned.
  • If the challenge is too great, work becomes boring and any effort is a waste of time. 

Suggestions include:

  • Creating a self-compiled visual dictionary for subject-specific vocabulary
  • Chunking the work
  • Using visual clues
  • Having a ‘lesson menu’ and tick off as the student completes tasks so that they can identify their own progress.

Some specific suggestions include: 

Unable to focus (ADHD)

  • Small sections
  • Have ample ‘time out’
  • Used realistic timed targets
  • Phased classwork and homework
  • Reading and writing is a challenge

Dyslexic

  • Use of coloured overlays to reduce glare and jumping letters
  • Keep instructions simple and short

And in general: 

  • Facilitate 1:1 tutorials
  • Record lessons by phone or laptop
  • Use visuals to support written text

SEND students need to be catered for in a non-discriminatory way, in an inclusive environment, can only enhance the self image and self worth of young people.

Objectives

To achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success.

Integration can reduce social stigmas and improve academic achievement. 

Where can technology help?

A special education program should be customised to address each individual student’s unique needs. 

Individualised Education Program

This will address each student’s unique learning issues and include specific educational goals. 

To help them participate in the educational environment as much as possible.

There are five broad categories of provision

  1. Inclusion

  2. Mainstreaming

  3. Segregation

  4. Exclusion

  5. Co-teaching

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

  • Targets
  • Provisions
  • Outcomes

What strategies will be used

What provision put in place?

Identifiable outcomes to monitor progress.

And include:

Likes, dislikes and anxieties

Home-based tasks

Specific: it is clear what the student should be working towards.

Measurable: it is clear when the target has been achieved.

Achievable: for the individual student.

Relevant:  to the student’s needs and circumstances.

Time-bound: targets are to be achieved by a specified time.

There are 14 categories under special education (in the US):

  1. Autism

  2. Deaf-blindness

  3. Deafness

  4. Developmental delay 

  5. Emotional and behavioral disorders

  6. Hearing impairment

  7. Intellectual disability (formerly referred to as mental retardation)

  8. Multiple disabilities

  9. Orthopedic impairment

  10. Other health impairment

  11. Specific learning disability

  12. Speech or language impairment

  13. Traumatic brain injury

  14. Visual impairment, including blindness

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Procrastination, ADHD and low self-esteem

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 29 Aug 2012, 13:38

All on BBC Radio 4 this morning (Tuesday 28th August 2012) from 11.30 or so.

ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL TUESDAY 4th SEPTEMBER

Catch it on iPlayer.

I might, tomorrow, or when I get round to it.

The author Steven Pressfield has written a book about procrastination, which he calls resistance - I say 'anything but ...' I will do smething else instead, which can inlcude TMAs and EMAs left to the night before. I do the preparation, I just don't commit to the writing process. Which Is why I prefer exams - the deadlines can't be moved.

 

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