behavior educators healthcare parents


What To Possibly Expect in the Classroom...


Physical Behaviors

  • Fidgeting, squirming, or otherwise being in "constant motion"
  • Clumsiness
  • May fall down a lot
  • Bumping into other students or objects in the classroom

Educational Behaviors

  • May not listen to instructions
  • Will begin work without waiting to hear or read instructions
  • Poor penmanship
  • Will lose or misplace papers, pencils, and other materials
  • Will probably be at your desk more often than most students
  • Will often ask questions which may or may not relate to what you are discussing
  • Will give unexpected responses to questions
  • May well finish class work, tests, etc. first, but with lower quality than possible
  • Will occasionally "Hyperfocus" on a topic to the point of fixation

Social Behaviors

  • Tends to be "bossy" with other children
  • Tends to object strongly to what is perceived as "unfair"
  • Interrupts other's conversations
  • Intrudes on other's games or activities
  • Trouble waiting in line
  • May ignore others or simply walk away during a conversation

Emotional Behaviors

  • Sudden and sometimes drastic mood swings
  • Has feelings hurt easily
  • Easily frustrated
  • Tends to overreact to correction or criticism


  • May appear disheveled-- even five minutes after being bathed and dressed. 
  • Often lost in thought
  • May "self-talk" with silent lip movements





Defiant Student or ADHD?

Is it expecting too much for my student to do as I say?

If you’ve ever caught yourself muttering something like this, consider the skills involved in following directions. Listening, understanding, staying focused on a task—these don’t come easily to kids with ADHD. Your student may be listening to your instructions, only to be distracted by a barking dog outside. If what you’re telling her to do involves several steps, she may remember only one or two.  The specific way in which you give instructions to an ADHD student is a key factor in determining whether she’ll comply. Keep in mind that, even at an age when most youngsters can work independently, children who have ADHD may still need your guidance and support.


What Can A Teacher Do?

Treat any case of ADHD as you would any other suspected student health problem. Report the symptoms and suggest that the student see a doctor. That’s what you would do if the child had a sore throat. You wouldn’t hold a conference telling the parents that they have to have the kid’s tonsils removed. Hopefully the parents will seek treatment. But, even if they don’t, there are still some simple classroom accommodations that you can make for this child.

  1. Reduce potential distractions
    Always seat the student who has problems with focus near the source of instruction and/or stand near student when giving instructions in order to help the student by reducing barriers and distractions between him and the lesson. Always seat this student in a low-distraction work area in the classroom.

  2. Use positive peer models
    Encourage the student to sit near positive role models to ease the distractions from other students with challenging or diverting behaviors.

  3. Prepare for transitions
    Remind the student about what is coming next (next class, recess, time for a different book, etc.). For special events like field trips or other activities, be sure to give plenty of advance notice and reminders. Help the student in preparing for the end of the day and going home by supervising the student’s book bag for necessary items needed for homework.

  4. Allow for movement
    Allow the student to move around, preferably by creating reasons for the movement. Provide opportunities for physical action – do an errand, wash the blackboard, get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, etc. If this is not practical, then permit the student to play with small objects kept in their desks that can be manipulated quietly, such as a soft squeeze ball, if it isn’t too distracting.

     5.  Let the children play*

          Do not use daily recess as a time to make-up missed schoolwork and do not remove                 daily recess as a form of punishment.             


Classroom Accommodations to Help Students with ADHD



* See "No Recess for Recess" article at the bottom of the page




Watch for the Red Flags of AUTISM

(The following red flags may indicate a child is at risk for atypical development, and is in need of an immediate evaluation.)

In clinical terms, there are a few “absolute indicators,” often referred to as “red flags,” that indicate that a child should be evaluated. For a parent, these are the “red flags” that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path. If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation:
  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age



SCREENING TOOLS FOR Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Autism A.L.A.R.M.

M-CHAT Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers



"No Recess for Recess"

Ask most grade-school children about the best parts of their school day and they’ll probably say, “Lunch and recess.” Ask children with ADHD, and they’ll almost certainly shout out those same answers. Why? Because “the teacher doesn’t get mad at me if I get out of my seat, walk around, or if I don’t pay attention.”

Playtime or recess is more than just fun. “Kids need a break,” says Stewart Trost, assistant professor of kinesiology at Kansas State University. “They can focus better in the classroom when given that break.” These observations are especially true for children with ADHD. Sitting quietly in a seat, staying focused on work, and remembering to raise a hand before speaking takes effort—more effort than for students without ADHD. If we told union workers that they had to go from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. without a break, they’d go on strike.

According to a recent report from the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists, nearly 40 percent of the nation’s school districts have either modified or deleted—or are considering modifying or deleting—recess from their elementary school schedules. The reason? To provide students with more classroom time for reading, math, and science.

According to Trost, however, some research suggests that kids who have recess display an improved ability to stay on task, are less fidgety in the classroom, and are better behaved. He adds that movement is essential to the physical and social development of all children.
Recess is even more important for students with ADHD. For them, recess isn’t an extra activity; it’s an essential one. Physical activity is healthy and relaxing, and provides focus and clarity of mind. But the benefits of recess go beyond reducing the fidget factor: Kids learn social skills on the playground, and teachers can learn a lot about their students by watching them play, by noticing who is being isolated, teased, or bullied.

Yes, reading, math, and science are important, but play and exercise are also necessary school-day components. Do you recall your elementary school days and going to recess? Please don’t take recess away. 




Mississippi Department of Education

Child Count Data

December 2007



Number of Mississippi children by disability ages 3-5 receiving special education services:

Intellectual Disability (Mental retardation): 2

Hearing Impairments: 46

Speech or Language Impairments: 5836

Visual Impairments: 30

Emotional Disturbance: 1

Orthopedic Impairments: 36

Other health Impairments: 70

Specific Learning Disabilities: 7

Deaf-Blindness: 1

Multiple Disabilities: 33

Autism: 131

Traumatic Brain Injury: 5

Developmental Delay: 2224

Total: 8422


Number of Mississippi children by disability ages 6-21 receiving special education services:

Intellectual Disability (Mental retardation): 4224

Hearing Impairments: 620

Speech or Language Impairments: 15,546

Visual Impairments: 289

Emotional Disturbance: 1743

Orthopedic Impairments: 506

Other health Impairments: 5403

Specific Learning Disabilities: 24,682

Deaf-Blindness: 11

Multiple Disabilities: 670

Autism: 1081

Traumatic Brain Injury: 155

Developmental Delay (thru age 9): 2365

Total: 57,295

Top Disability Percent Rankings:

Specific Learning Disabilities: 43%

Speech or Language Impairments: 27%

Other health Impairments: 9%

Intellectual Disability (Mental retardation): 7%

Emotional Disturbance: 3%

Developmental Delay (thru age 9): 4%

Autism: 2%



Early Identification and Treatment of
ADHD * Autism Spectrum Disorders * Speech/Language Disorders

Working together as a team to improve the lives of children in Mississippi

Sponsored in full by The Phil Hardin Foundation