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April 7, 2010

Helping Students with ADHD in the Classroom

Written By: Laura Rolands

Helping Students with ADHD in the Classroom

We’re excited to have guest author and ADHD coach, Laura Rolands, share with us some really good tips for working with students in the classroom who have ADHD.  We love that they’re practical and easy to implement! Let us know how they work out in your classroom.

Working with ADHD Students

To help your students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) thrive in school, try these techniques.

Provide a predictable routine with structure.

No matter what grade level you teach, you can build structure. Structure is necessary for the student with ADHD and can certainly help all of your students. For first grade, it might start with a checklist for students to remember what to do to get ready to leave school at the end of the day. For eighth grade, it might be to have them start and end class the exact same way every day.

Allow them to have physical movement.

Students with ADHD often need physical movement during the school day. Have them help hand out papers or allow them to get up and get a drink of water when needed. In addition, they need recess. Even when there is more work to be done, don’t take away recess! The exercise will be beneficial back in the classroom.

Find out their learning style and develop strategies that work with that style.

Different strategies work differently for different types of learners. For a verbal learner, they might need the flexibility to speak quietly to themselves during a lesson. Visual learners may need more pictures to help make the learning stick.

Ask the student what will help them most.

Just as all students are different, you are not likely to see two students with ADHD have exactly the same challenges. One might need quiet and another might benefit from some white noise. Spend a few minutes talking with your students who have ADHD privately to see how you can best support them. It will also build their self-confidence to know you are interested in their opinion.

Teach students how to break large assignments into something smaller and less intimidating.

Students with ADHD can be easily overwhelmed by large assignments. For younger students this might be a large complicated worksheet, while for older students it might be a science project. Either way, you can teach them a valuable life skill if you spend time helping them to break the large assignments into smaller steps or sections.

Use regular communication with parents.

Regular communication with the students’ parents will provide benefits to the student, the parents and you. You can use a daily checklist, homework journal or regular emails to check in with the parents. It also helps to have the student involved in completing the communication tool, but you need to check it for accuracy and completeness.

By using these six techniques with your students you can help maximize their learning and boost their self-confidence. I encourage you to give each of them time to work and let us know how it goes.

About the Author

Laura Rolands is the founder of She is an ADHD coach whose passion is to support and inspire independence and success for people who have either been diagnosed with ADHD or who are facing other attention related challenges. Her clients include children, teenagers and adults with attention challenges.  Laura is excited to launch, Turmoil to Tranquility, a group coaching program for adults needing to get control of their time and organization.
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