What Teachers Can Do To Help

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For teachers, helping children manage their ADHD symptoms can present a challenge. Most children with ADHD are not enrolled in special education classes, but do need extra assistance on a daily basis. The National Resource Center on ADHD provides information for teachers from experts on how to help students with ADHD.external icon

Here are some tips for classroom success.

Communication

  • Give frequent feedback and attention to positive behavior;
  • Be sensitive to the influence of ADHD on emotions, such as self-esteem issues or difficulty regulating feelings;
  • Provide extra warnings before transitions and changes in routines; and
  • Understand that children with ADHD may become deeply absorbed in activities that interest them (hyper-focus) and may need extra assistance shifting their attention.
Assignments and Tasks
  • Make assignments clear—check with the student to see if they understand what they need to do;
  • Provide choices to show mastery (for example, let the student choose among written essay, oral report, online quiz, or hands-on project;
  • Make sure assignments are not long and repetitive. Shorter assignments that provide a little challenge without being too hard may work well;
  • Allow breaks—for children with ADHD, paying attention takes extra effort and can be very tiring;
  • Allow time to move and exercise;
  • Minimize distractions in the classroom; and
  • Use organizational tools, such as a homework folder, to limit the number of things the child has to track.
Develop a Plan That Fits the Child
  • Observe and talk with the student about what helps or distracts them (for example, fidget tools, limiting eye contact when listening, background music, or moving while learning can be beneficial or distracting depending on the child);
  • Communicate with parents on a regular basis; and
  • Involve the school counselor or psychologist.

Close collaboration between the school, parents, and healthcare providers will help ensure the child gets the right support.

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