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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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2.15 Managing Student Anger, Frustration, and Poor Emotional Regulation

Students with ADHD often have difficulty reining in their emotions and reacting without thinking. They commonly have a low frustration tolerance and are prone to anger and outbursts because of their neurological immaturity and poor ability to regulate their emotions. Here are strategies teachers can employ to help avoid and manage a student's escalation of emotions from spinning out of control.

Prevention Strategies

  • Be aware of the triggers or antecedents that cause the student to become frustrated, agitated, and upset (List 2.11) so you can make whatever adjustments or accommodations are needed to alleviate those feelings.
  • Frustration and anxiety can often be eliminated or significantly reduced by adjusting the task demand (shortening the assignment, giving more time to complete the task, or providing peer or teacher assistance), and modifying the environment (such as providing seating options). Avoid situations or conditions that make the student anxious and can provoke emotional reactions.
  • Provide the calm, consistent, predictable, and respectful environment as described in List 2.1.
  • Alert the student about changes in routine and provide warnings and preparation for transitions (List 2.10).
  • Take steps to prevent the student from becoming overstimulated and employ calming techniques in the classroom (Lists 2.3, 2.10, 2.13, 7.7).
  • Always watch for warning signs of students becoming frustrated, agitated, or ...

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