The impact of voice amplification on the speed of direction following behavior with students with attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
Students with disabilities, particularly those with ADHD, may be noncompliant, aggressive, or may exhibit other difficult behaviors. Classrooms that are noisy and hinder their ability to hear teacher directions may exacerbate these problems. Most approaches to treat ADHD are of the medical variety, but many classroom teachers indicate that management in the classroom is still a challenge. Teachers prefer to use methods that are effective, yet easy to manage. One such method has received little attention, but may be both effective and easy to manage, sound field amplification (SFA).
SFA amplifies the speaker's voice through loud speakers placed strategically throughout the classroom. This amplification makes it easier to hear teacher directions. If a direction can not be heard, it cannot be followed and the converse is also true.
The purpose of this multiple baseline study was to observe three students with ADHD across three content areas to determine if they followed directions more quickly with the teacher's voice amplified than without amplification. Data were collected on different types of directions: high interest (something the student would likely want to do), task demand (something the student would likely not want to do), alpha (short, concise commands), and beta (long, wordy, unclear commands).
Results indicated that all participants followed all types of directions across all content areas more quickly when they were amplified. The increase in speed happened immediately upon the introduction of SFA into the environment.
These results may form the basis for decisions by school districts to purchase, install and maintain SFA systems in classrooms to improve the signal to noise ratio. If teachers can spend less time managing behavior, this should leave more time for them to teach which could lead to increased student achievement. In the era of "No Child Left Behind", any relatively inexpensive tool to potentially lead to growth in student achievement should be considered.