Notes About This Guide
This guide was created act as a map for this presentation. Please note that all of the script is suggested. We encourage you to add your own personal touch!
Module 1: Rules of Engagement
Key Learning Objectives Include:
Slide 2 Script: Rules of Engagement
Before we begin our workshop today, we would likely to briefly discuss the rules of engagement for this session. We believe that fostering a supportive learning environment is a shared responsibility, and here are some ways we can all contribute to the creation of this space.
- We acknowledge the subject may be difficult for participants to discuss
- Confidentiality; share learnings, not personal stories/identities/experiences of others.
- Centre the importance of lived experience
- Work together to create space for folks to engage authentically and honestly
- Share the air; be mindful of how you take up space today
- Guilt and shame: we know folks are in different places/spaces with learning and that some may be managing these emotions as they reflect, consider next steps, and move forward in concrete ways
- Discriminatory comments will not be tolerated
(Make amendments as needed)
Module 2: Introduction
Key Learning Objectives:
- Participants will gain a better understanding of what it could be like to have ADHD. The Minion talk represents the different sensory processes and learning styles.
- Build rapport with participants.
(Minion Simulation Activity) Play video without introduction.
Slide 3 Script: ADHD Introduction Video
Hello and welcome to the session. Thank you for taking the time out of your days to be here today. Before I explain what you just experienced, I’ll start with an introduction: My name is ______ and my pronouns are _____ (amend script to accommodate number of facilitators).
By a show of hands, how many people understood what was happening in that video? (Pause to view raised hands).
Perfect, thank you. Raise your hand if you feel uncomfortable or awkward in this room? (Pause to view raised hands?).
Ok, thank you. Now, imagine this. Imagine you’ve been sitting in this room for three, four, five, plus hours. You’re feeling confused and embarrassed because you don’t understand what you’re looking at, you’re distracted by the relentless buzzing sounds, and you don’t know why everyone else seems to know what they’re doing (pause).
If you were in this environment, do you think you’d be able to achieve academic excellence? For many students, this is what everyday classroom life may feel like. Except for students with ADHD, it isn’t a simulation. They don’t always have the luxury of turning off the distracting background noises or being able to attend a lecture that is presented in a way that makes sense to them. Now that we’ve set ourselves in this mindset, let’s see what we can do to make this workshop more accessible. We can start by turning off the background noise! (Pause and turn off background noise).
Next let’s all adjust our physical space and turn our chairs forward. Finally, lets acknowledge the elephant in the room… unless anyone is fluent in minion speak, we need to change our way of communication to a more accessible format.
We started with this “ADHD simulation” activity to demonstrate the potential challenges that students may face and to help illustrate some of the accessibility accommodations that can make classroom learning more inclusive.
Slide 4 Script: Food for Thought
Take a moment to consider the following questions:
- When did you first hear about ADHD?
- Has ADHD ever been discussed in your classroom?
- Have you or anyone you know had accessibility training specific to ADHD and/or neurodiversity?
- How many of people do you know that have ADHD/identify as neurodiverse?
Please take 30 seconds to think about these questions. (Pause for 30 seconds). We invite you to share with the person or people you’re seated next to, to share your thoughts. We will rejoin as a group in 2 minutes. (Pause for two minutes). Thank you everyone. Is there anyone who would like to briefly share what they discussed in their group? (Allow 3-4 minutes for sharing).
Thank you for sharing! We encourage you to keep these questions in mind as we continue with our session today.
Slide 5 Script: What We Will Cover Today
Before we jump in, here is a brief overview of what we will be covering today!
- The AODA
- An Introduction to ADHD
- ADHD and Intersectionality
- Accessibility Barriers
- How to be Supportive
Module 3: The ADHDe Project
Key Learning Objectives:
- Participants will learn about the project and its goals.
- Present resources to participants.
- Introduce the EnAbling Change program
Slide 6 Script: Who We Are
The ADHDe Project is a student-led initiative that promotes inclusion and respect for students (especially those at the post-secondary level) who have been diagnosed with ADHD or identify as neurodiverse. This project was created to destigmatize ADHD and neurodiversity on campus, provide students with resources and support, and promote a welcoming environment at the University of Windsor. We recognize how difficult navigating university life can be for anyone, and sometimes more so for students who identify as neurodiverse or have ADHD.
The ADHDe Project was produced by The University of Windsor and The Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor Essex with support from the Government of Ontario.
Slide 7 Script: What’s With the “e”?
The name The ADHDe Project represents the three “e’s” of our mission, Education, Equity and Empowerment. We believe that by amplifying the voices of people with ADHD we will be able to create a more inclusive and accessible campus.
Slide 8 Script: The EnAbling Change Program
The ADHDe Project was made possible by a grant from The EnAbling Change Program, which is a grant program run by the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. The goals of the EnAbling Change Program are to encourage education about accessibility and encourage awareness about its benefits. Thanks to the support from the EnAbling Change Program, The ADHDe Project was able to become a university-wide accessibility initiative.
Module 4: Accessibility Regulations
Key Learning Objectives:
- Identify and explain the AODA
- Discuss the five standards of the AODA
Slide 9 Script: Accessibility Regulations
When discussing accessibility and inclusion in Ontario, it is important to mention the AODA.
Slide 10 Script: Accessibility Regulations
Educational institutions in Ontario have an obligation to adhere to two sets of regulations, the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) and The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The OHRC: Mandating accessible, inclusive, discrimination and harassment-free education environments that support human rights.
AODA: The AODA established the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulations (IASR), a grouping of legal requirements that institutions must follow to help identity, remove, and prevent barriers faced by persons with disabilities. These requirements are divided into two categories: General Requirements and Accessibility Standards. The Act was put into place in 2005, with the intention of creating a fully accessible Ontario by 2025.
Module 5: What is ADHD to you?
Key Learning Objectives:
- Participants will gain a better understanding of what ADHD is.
- Provide participants with a comprehensive list of terms and definitions relevant to the presentation.
- Discuss the different ways ADHD presents
- Identify and discuss of the common symptoms associated with ADHD
Slide 11 Script: What is ADHD to you?
Brainstorming activity: What are some key words that come to mind when you think about ADHD?
Slide 12 Script: Understanding ADHD
To help everyone feel comfortable and informed about the topics we’ll be covering today we will start by discussing some of the concepts and terms that are key to this project. We hope that these carefully defined concepts and terms will give you a better understanding of the barriers, circumstances, and realities that students with ADHD experience.
Slide 13-15 Script: Key Concepts and Terms
Now, we will discuss some of the terminology associated with ADHD and neurodiversity.
- ADHD: Stands for Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD as a neurodevelopmental disorder. The three core symptoms of ADHD are: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. There are three types of ADHD: inattentive type, hyperactive type, and combined type, which we will be covering later in the presentation.
- Neurodiverse: Refers to a group of people who are neurologically diverse. This can include people with ADHD and people without ADHD. For example: “They are a neurodiverse family. There are two children and a parent who have ADHD, and one child and one parent who do not have ADHD”.
- Disability: Personal experience of barriers to participation in all aspects of society.
- Invisible Disability: A disability that you might not be able to perceive when you first meet someone.
- Executive function: set of skills that we use to navigate everyday life. Includes time management, self-control, flexible thinking, emotional regulation, etc.
- Overstimulation: feeling extremely overwhelmed by a surplus of stimulating sensations such as loud music, certain textures, certain tastes, bright lights, etc. This can cause an emotional response.
- Accessibility Barrier: An accessibility barrier is an obstacle or hurdle that prevents a person with a disability from participating in all aspects of society. There are five types of accessibility barriers: physical/architectural, informational/communicational, technological, attitudinal, and organizational.
Slide 16 Script: What is ADHD?
There has been a shift in ADHD terminology and labelling. Sometimes controversial. As a team we worked together to present an equitable and inclusive understanding of ADHD.
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is often defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Common symptoms include hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity.
- Many people with ADHD excel at creative problem solving, are exceptionally empathetic and often have a strong sense of fairness.
- Many children and adults with ADHD have other co-associated conditions, like Learning Disabilities, ODD, Anxiety, or Depression.
- There are effective psychological, educational, and medical supports available for people with ADHD. Some of the supports available are therapies, medication, support groups, educational programs, accommodations.
Slide 17 Script: Hyperactive, Inattentive, and Combined
- ADHD presents in different ways, depending on the individual. There are three main classifications of how ADHD can present.
- Hyperactive type, inattentive type, and combined type. Inattentive type was traditionally referred to as ADD (attention deficit disorder). Cisgender men are more likely to be diagnosed with Hyperactive type ADHD when compared to cisgendered women.
- Cis women are less likely to receive a diagnosis as a child and are more likely to be diagnosed with Inattentive type ADHD.
- ADHD is NOT a gender-specific disorder.
Slide 18 Script: Common Symptoms
Now that we’ve gone over the different ways that ADHD presents itself, let’s go over some examples of the most common symptoms.
Common Inattentive Type Symptoms:
- Day dreaming
- Hyper focusing
- Easily distracted by small stimuli
- Struggles with paying attention
- Struggles with organization and time management
- Excels at creative problem solving
- Emotionally sensitive and struggles with rejection
Common Hyperactive Type Symptoms:
- Fidgeting, constant movement
- Struggles to control their volume
- Very creative
- Lots of physical and mental energy
- Experiences intense crashes after exerting energy
- May interrupt others
Module 6: Intersectionality
Key Learning Objectives:
- Participants will learn about the importance of considering identity when discussing ADHD and neurodiversity.
- Present the understanding of intersecting identities like race, age, gender, sexual orientation, sex, etc.
Slide 19 Script: Intersectionality
When discussing ADHD, it is important that we think about intersectionality.
Slide 20-21 Script: Intersectionality
Intersectionality is a concept made known by Kimberlé Crenshaw.
It acknowledges that everyone has their own unique experiences, and their identities play a role in how they experience the world.
Because of that, it’s important to take into consideration how a person’s identities may intersect with one another.
Some examples of intersecting identities may include:
For example, women with ADHD are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than their male peers. Women are often diagnosed later in life and often struggle to receive accessibility accommodations and support.
Module 7: Diagnosis
Key Learning Objectives:
- Present the pros and cons of obtaining a diagnosis
- Discuss barriers associated with diagnosis
Slide 22 Script: Diagnosis
Before we look at the benefits and challenges of an ADHD diagnosis, are there any questions?
Slide 23 Script: Why is a Diagnosis so Important?
A big part of understanding ADHD and how to support people with ADHD is learning about the diagnosis process. Obtaining a diagnosis can help individuals with ADHD better understand their circumstances. The absence of diagnosis may leave people wondering why they:
- Have difficulty creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
- Struggles with addiction and substance abuse.
- Difficulty with executive functioning leading to issues at home, work, social life, and wealth management.
- An increase in stress and anxiety
After receiving a diagnosis, the individual is then able to reap the benefits. Diagnosis also helps to obtain qualification for resources and supports. This includes access to supports such as mental health supports, academic accommodations, medications, and familial support.
Slide 24 Script: What are the Potential Barriers to a Diagnosis?
It is important to understand that there are many potential barriers to getting an ADHD diagnosis. These are barriers in place that make it difficult to receive a diagnosis and may discourage people from pursuing support.
- A lack of funding for diagnostic tools (testing may be up to $2500)
- Due to the stigma surrounding ADHD, many professionals also don’t truly understand ADHD or the affect it has on day-to-day life. As a result, ADHD is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
- ADHD can be difficult to diagnose because it is considered an “invisible disability”. Because it can’t be seen at first glance it is more challenging to diagnose then an obvious physical issue, such as broken arm.
Module 8: Barriers
Key Learning Objectives:
- Discuss academic and societal barriers.
- Participants will learn how to be supportive allies
- Present information on inclusivity and accessibility
Slide 25 Script: Barriers
Unfortunately, the barriers experienced during the diagnosis process is only the tip of the iceberg. After being diagnosed with ADHD there are many potential challenges that a person may face because of their diagnosis.
Slides 26-27 Script: Academic and Societal Barriers
One of these barriers is stigma, which is a negative stereotype about a person or group of people. The stigmatization of ADHD is relevant in every aspect of society.
ADHD stigma can create challenges in education, work, and social settings. It’s also important to note that social stigma can lead to self-stigma which can be limiting as it promotes negative self-views and associations with their diagnosis.
The severity of stigma can be placed on a continuum depending on the individual’s intersecting identifying factors (gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, etc.).
Once potential employers, colleagues or friends discover you have ADHD they may make assumptions based on what they’ve seen in the media. They may assume you are going to be unreliable, lazy, less intelligent, a distraction or uncommitted.
Lack of Support and Misunderstanding of ADHD and Neurodiversity: a lack of understanding lends itself to a lack of support for people who have ADHD and/or identify as neurodiverse.
These misunderstandings and lack of support creates additional barriers to achieving academic, professional, and social goals.
Medication, therapy and receiving a diagnosis can all be expensive and difficult to access.
Slide 28 Script: What Can ADHD Look Like in the Classroom?
Along with the social and academic barriers that people with ADHD may experience, they may also experience the following:
- Remembering or following instructions with multiple steps
- Social anxiety and social interactions
- Personal time management
- Asking for help or clarifying instructions
- Organization and cleanliness
- Stress management and mental health
- Forming and maintaining healthy relationships
This can make it very difficult for a person with ADHD to thrive (or even survive). Understanding how challenging the day-to-day life of someone with ADHD can be is hugely important to creating accessible and respectful environments.
Slide 29 Script: My Lived Experience
Nadia’s lived experience
Slide 30 Script: Being Supportive
So, what comes next? Now that we have a better idea of what students with ADHD may face, how do we support them?
Slide 31 Script: Brainstorm Session
Depending on your previous experience, you may or may not have had the opportunity to work with a student who has ADHD. Our goal today is to provide you with the tools you’ll need to support your students as best as you can. One of those tools is knowing how to take an inaccessible situation and make it accessible. Let’s do a quick brainstorm together to see if we can think of some ways to support students with ADHD. Question 1: What are some general accessibility recommendations for the classroom? Question 2: What are some inaccessible things you may see in the classroom? (Allow 3-5 minutes for group brainstorm session). Thank you, everyone for your participation!
Slide 32 Script: Principals of Universal Design
As we begin to discuss the ways that educators can implement accessible practices into their teaching, let’s look at the principals of universal design. We’re sure this is a concept that many of you have encountered before, so we will just do a brief overview. Essentially, the principals of universal design were put forth in 1997 to help guide the design process in an accessible way. Many of these principals can be taken into consideration when in a classroom setting, especially when working with students who have ADHD or identify as neurodiverse. These principals are:
- Principle 1: Equitable Use
- Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
- Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
- Principle 4: Perceptible Information
- Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
- Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
- Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Slide 33 Script: The Importance of Inclusivity and Accessibility
Considering the external and internal conflicts that people with ADHD can face, it’s no surprise that many experience depression, anxiety, and self-doubt.
By age 10, it’s estimated that children with ADHD have received 20,000 more negative messages than positive ones. (Source: attitude magazine). That is why inclusive and accessible spaces are so important.
People with ADHD deserve to feel as supported and valued as everyone else, and it’s up to all of us to help foster those spaces.
Creating an inclusive space is key for helping people with ADHD thrive. This also encourages other students to be more aware of how their actions impact their peers and creates an environment that models’ inclusivity.
Slide 34 Script: You Can Make a difference!
We understand that this may all seem a little bleak, but it’s important to remember that you can make a difference! As an educator, you are crucial to a student’s learning experience. By implementing simple practices, you can make the world of difference for a student with ADHD.
When it comes to supporting someone with a disability a little truly can go a long way, and it all boils down to education and awareness. When you know better, you do better.
Slide 35 Script: Accessibility
ADHD is commonly referred to as an “invisible disability”. This means that when you first meet someone you may not be able to tell that they have ADHD. Because of that, people with ADHD may have a difficult time working, learning, and socializing in places designed for people without ADHD. Here are some suggestions to help create a more accessible and respectful place for all people.
- When possible, provide meeting notes, lecture notes, or other content ahead of time.
- Encourage alternative working or learning styles.
- Use inclusive and respectful language.
- When in doubt, ask! Always refer to the person with ADHD when implementing accommodations or supports.
Slide 36 Script: Inclusivity
Promoting and creating an inclusive space helps to ease potential anxieties and worries that students may have. Inclusivity should be approached with a wide lens, with the goal of encouraging all identities to thrive and feel comfortable doing so.
Here are some tips on how you can create a more inclusive environment for people with ADHD:
- Offer constructive criticism.
- Be aware of your tone and body language.
- Many people with ADHD interpret neutral body language as being negative and so positive reinforcement is key.
- Be conscious that the student you’re working with may experience one or more serious mental illness and may not be well equipped for emotional regulation.
- Overstimulation can cause a lot of emotional, mental, and physical stress.
- Remember that ADHD is not inherently bad or good, is simply one neurotype.
Slide 37-38 Script: In the Classroom
Education is the backbone of a developing and progressive society. It is important for educators to recognize that students’ educational needs are diverse.
It is important that accessible learning materials are developed in a way that supports the diverse needs of students.
Creating an inclusive space gives all students a voice, a purpose, and a better sense of contribution to the learning environment.
Here are some tips on how to create a supportive learning environment for students with ADHD:
- Offer short and sweet explanations when possible.
- Explore different teaching methods that incorporate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles.
- Important reminders, dates, deadlines, key concepts, and facts are often best absorbed when written down to engage visual learning prompts. It is also important to recognize the intersecting needs that some may need to hear prompts, incorporate touch, and feel.
- Having course notes and slides available ahead of time can be very beneficial to the absorption of material.
Module 9: Close
Key Learning Objectives:
- Summarize the session
- Wrap up the presentation session
Slide 39 Script: Looking Back & Going Forward
We would like to thank everyone for their attendance and participation in this workshop thus far! Before we finish up for today, we’d like to take a moment to review some of the information we discussed today, as well as look ahead at some of the ADHD friendly practices that can be implemented right away.
Slide 40 Script: What We Covered Today
In a nutshell, here is what we covered today.
- ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. There are three presentations, inattentive, hyperactive, and combined type.
- Common ADHD symptoms may include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity
- Intersecting identities may impact a person’s experience with ADHD. These identities can affect a person’s ability to receive a diagnosis, access accommodations, navigate their social life and be accepted as who they are.
- Receiving a diagnosis can be challenging. There are upsides and downsides to a diagnosis.
- Students with ADHD may need additional supports or accommodations, and that’s ok! Having accessibility accommodations does not diminish a person’s achievement.
- When in doubt, try to refer to the person with lived experience. Often, the person who is needing the accommodation will have a good idea of what will work best for them.
Slide 41 Script: Going Forward
Going forward, here are some of the things you can implement in your classroom to make it a more accessible and inclusive space for your students.
- Firstly, try to implement multi-sensory practices into your teaching. For example, you could offer visual prompts alongside your lecture, or assign a podcast instead of a reading assignment.
- Secondly, work with your students, not against them. It is possible that some of your students with ADHD may have had past negative experiences when trying to access accessibility accommodations. As a result, they may be tentative to express their true needs or may come off as being uncooperative. It’s important to remember that your students are not trying to create problems. They just need a bit of support, a bit of patience, and they’ll be able to achieve incredible things!
- Finally, where you are able, try to offer accessibility accommodations to all your students. As we’ve discussed today, receiving an official ADHD diagnosis can be very challenging and there are a lot of potential barriers that a student may face. By encouraging accessible practices in your teaching (regardless of a student’s official diagnosis) you may make a huge difference to their academic success!
Slide 42 Script: Post Session Survey
Thank you for your participation!
Slide 43 Script: Thank You
We would like the thank The Center for Teaching and Learning for their support with this workshop and initiative, as well as The Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor-Essex, The University of Windsor, and the Government of Ontario. Most importantly, we would like to thank all our attendees for being here today. Please feel free to contact us via email at any time or visit our website for more project updates and announcements.