Collaborative interactions with teachers should focus on academic interventions
to help the student develop skills needed for high school and postsecondary
education. Related to academic intervention, simple but effective strategies
are needed. For example, the use of simple mnemonics strategies developed and
researched for the past three decades are highly effective interventions that
can be used in both regular and special education settings (Sealander, 1999),
as well as in the home, to help students with attention deficit disorders negotiate
and comprehend information in their textbooks. Mnemonic strategies are learning
enhancements that may help the student with ADHD remember the steps or procedures
for solving problems or obtaining new information by “chunking” (grouping)
information. Several mnemonic strategies that can be used to help the student
with ADHD are described as follows.
The mnemonic “HOW” (Archer & Gleason) can be used with students
who have attention problems and other learning disabilities to improve the
appearance of their written work by reminding them how a paper should look
and to check important aspects of the paper:
H Headings to include name, date, subject, and page number
O Organization reminders such as starting on the left, going
to the right, then top to bottom while paying attention to margins and spacing.
W Written neatly? (Students check for errors)
Ellis and Lenz introduced the mnemonic “RAP,” which allows students
with comprehension difficulties to identify and store information contained
in a paragraph. RAP cues the student to
R Read the paragraph.
A Ask yourself, what is the main idea and two details?
P Put the details and main ideas into your own words.
Another learning strategy developed by Ellis and Lenz is “CANDO.” By
using the following cues, this mnemonic can help students with ADHD in retaining
C Create a list of items to be learned.
A Ask yourself whether your list is complete.
N Note the main ideas and details by creating a map or tree
D Describe each component on your map or tree diagram and
how they relate.
O Overlearn Main Points and build with Details.
“COPS” (Schumaker, Nolan, & Deshler) is an earlier mnemonic
developed at the University of Kansas Research and Learning Center to help
students remember to check their written work:
C Check for errors in capitalization.
O Observe overall appearance (spacing, legibility, indention
of paragraphs, etc.).
P Punctuation check for commas, semicolons, ending punctuation.
S Spell check using a dictionary, teacher, or spell checker.
“TOWER” is another mnemonic suggested by Deschler and Putnam to
provide structure for taking notes in class, writing thematic papers, or providing
written answers on exams.
T Think about the content (use title, headings, details,
graphs, tables, pictures, etc.)
O Order the topics, supplement with details.
W Write a rough draft.
E Error search using COPS.
R Revise and Rewrite.
Finally, “SLANT” is one of the earliest mnemonic
strategies developed by researchers at the University of Kansas (Mercer & Mercer)
to help students with attention difficulties and learning problems focus on
S Sit up straight.
L Lean forward.
A Activate thinking and Ask questions.
N Name key information and Nod your head to validate the
T Track the teacher or speaker.
- Schwiebert, Valerie L,
Karen A Sealander, and Jean L Dennison; Strategies
for Counselors Working with High School Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder; Journal of Counseling & Development; Winter2002, Vol. 80
Issue 1, p3
Reflection Exercise #10
The preceding section contained information
about using mnemonic devices to enhance learning in ADD students. Write
three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section
in your practice.
What are the steps in the “CAN DO” mnemonic? Record the letter of the correct answer