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Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often approach the topic in concepts, images, or a networks of connected ideas. They learn best visually and need to see things in order to understand them. For ADHD students who take notes with zeal, but find it difficult to pick out the important points, or find it hard to organize thoughts into an A-B-C order outline, mind-mapping can help.
A mind map is a tool for taking notes organizing ideas, structuring papers, and studying for exams. You can even use it for brainstorming. Using key words, colors, arrows, symbols, and icons to create a map, or elaborate diagram, you can see how one idea relates to another. Mind-mapping brings order to your thoughts, and invites a free flow of ideas, encouraging creativity.
A simple form of a mind map is a series of ideas connected to a central theme. If you're writing a paper, begin with the main theme in the center of the page, boxed or circled and represented by a picture or key word. Draw lines radiating from the main theme to create a second layer of related thoughts. Each of these might send out shoots to create a third layer, and so on, until you have a web of interrelated ideas that provide a logical structure for your paper.
Software such as Inspiration can help a student develop a mind map to organize ideas and thoughts. Begin with a broad theme and add new ideas as you brainstorm, working from the general to the specific. A mind map will assist a student with ADHD traits to group information in an orderly way.
With Inspiration® and Kidspiration®, students use symbols and images to represent ideas, create graphic organizers to break work down into manageable sections, and brainstorm, sort and organize their ideas. These visual thinking and learning strategies have been shown to increase academic performance for students with and without learning disabilities in content-area classes including language arts, social studies, science and study skills. Specific to special needs, Inspiration and Kidspiration are recommended for students with ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia, aphasia, and visual or auditory processing disorders, as they provide:
• Individualized and Differentiated Instruction. Lessons can be tailored to allow students to learn and demonstrate their understanding in ways that suit their specific learning needs.
• Project-based Learning. Visual learning engages students of all abilities as they work together and contribute at their individual levels.
• 21st Century Skills Development. Inspiration and Kidspiration help students develop and gather ideas, organize thoughts, analyze and interpret information, clarify understanding and communicate clearly—all key 21st century skills that expand their ability to achieve success across all subject areas and throughout their adult lives.
In addition, both Inspiration and Kidspiration have text-to-speech, so teachers can configure it to read out loud to students who have difficulty reading or seeing a computer screen.