Help for Impulsive Responding

  • Situation

    I have a 4th grade student who continually raises her hand to answer questions in class. She has ADHD and can be very oppositional and disruptive. When I do call on her, she often answers incorrectly which leads to her slamming her desk, pouting, yelling or sometimes cursing aloud. I love that she is so willing to participate but hesitate to call on her anymore. Do you have any ideas?

  • Summary

    Impulsivity is one of the core symptoms of ADHD and can result in a student blurting out answers to questions either before the question was completed or before the student actually thinks about their response. This can result in a high frequency of incorrect responses which could lead to frustration and result in negative behaviors. One way to limit any negative behaviors is to increase the chances of the student responding correctly. Four strategies can help reduce impulsive responding in the classroom.

  • Definition

    Help for Impulsive Responding translates into advance warnings, teaching a student to wait until he/she hears the question two times, having the student repeat the question for the class, and changing the format of open-ended questions. The Process section includes examples of each strategy.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    A teacher willing to try the strategies!

  • Process

    1. Provide advance warnings: Cue the student with ADHD ahead of time that you will be calling upon her to answer a question. For example, “All right I’d like Tommy to tell me the definition of energy. Now, Vanessa you need to get ready because it will be your turn next!”

    2. Repeat question: Tell the students that you will say the question 2 times in 2 different ways before they should raise their hands or respond.

    3. Student repeats question: Present the question and prompt the student to repeat it aloud for others to hear before she tries to answer. This will create “think time” and also let the teacher know if the student heard the question correctly. Then, if needed, the teacher can clarify before incorrect responding.

    4. Vary Question Type: To increase correct responding, try to replace open ended questions with a binary choice such as “Ok, Vanessa would you say a car in motion is an example of kinetic OR thermal energy?” You could also ask True or False questions in lieu of open ended questions.

  • Documents and Related Resources



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