How can I help Students with ADHD deal with Negative Thoughts?

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Students with ADHD are more likely to be depressed than other teens and young adults.Many experts study and write about the issue of self-esteem in students. Dr. John Ratey focuses in this area for students with ADHD. He writes about “ANTS” – which stands for Automated, Negative Thoughts – and claims that this is something students with ADHD often tend to develop.

These ANTS can either crush the spirit of the student or increase the chances of them acting out, an issue that is common for teens or young adults with ADHD who may already feel labeled. Many teens deal with self-recriminations, but those with ADHD have less control over their actions and tend to be even more prone to self-recrimination. Students with ADHD are 5 to 10 times more likely than a typical student to have a depression.

There is a remedy for when a student engages in overly strong automated negative thoughts (ANTS). Have the student speak back to the thoughts.

For example, if the ANTS are communicating that the student is stupid, have the student respond with “ANTS, my teacher tells me that I am smart enough to do challenging work. I believe him.” Encourage the student to tell the ANTS to be quiet. “Oh! Be quiet ANTS, I’m busy.”

Make sure the parents and school authorities are aware of a student who is experiencing strong ANTS or even suicidal feelings.

Learn More… Take this course: Understanding ADHD

Discuss Here: What are some ways you can support students with ADHD in your classroom?

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