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Student-Tested, Teacher-Approved: Best Classroom Supports for ADHD
Every teacher wants to help their students boost academic performance, build behavioral skills, and improve emotional regulation… but how?
We asked a panel of veteran teachers to share teaching strategies and classroom accommodations that had made a real difference in the lives of real students with ADHD and learning differences. Here are some of their favorites:
ADHD Accommodations That Work
- Offer movement breaks.
- Allow quiet fidgeting while working.
- Provide noise-canceling headphones.
- Reduce homework load.
- Provide extra time on tests.
- Maintain a daily report card.
- Use preferential seating.
- Administer tests orally.
- Provide an extra set of books for use at home.
- Tap student on shoulder or use another cue to refocus.
Teaching Strategies for More Engaging Instruction
- Focus on strengths. (An artistic student can draw pictures to summarize book chapters.)
- Start every class with a few minutes of mindfulness.
- Use a step-by-step format with visually matching cues.
- Break tasks into small, quickly achievable goals.
- Divide the class into small groups and use a buddy system.
- Create opportunities for students to self-correct their work to feel more motivated and in control.
- Help a student start a task, then move away and check in frequently.
- Give real-world examples to illustrate why the lesson matters.
- Use a daily check-in and check-out procedure for middle and high school students.
- Use their interests as a launching pad for learning skills.
Teaching Strategies to Boost Executive Function
- Use timers and visual aids to plan and get organized.
- Encourage self-directed goal-setting.
- Lead the class in developing collaborative solutions to a problem to increase awareness and flexibility.
- Identify students’ strengths and incorporate their successes into leadership opportunities.
- Reduce pressure and anxiety. Emphasize a growth mindset.
- Praise students for finding and correcting their own mistakes.
- Administer the executive skills test in the book Smart but Scattered and share ways to compensate for their deficits.
- Cultivate a child’s self-confidence.
Teaching Strategies to Improve Behavior & Emotional Regulation
- Give immediate rewards and consequences for behavior.
- After an emotional trigger, encourage self-reflection when students are calm.
- Help students brainstorm different ways to respond to a difficult situation next time.
- Incorporate physical challenges into brain-break times.
- Stay calm with your body language and words.
- Give a five-minute break to chat and snack.
- Lead the class in a quick burst of exercise to refocus their attention before starting the next task.
- Use checklists and constant communication to share a student’s victories with their family.
- Practice mindfulness strategies, from meditation to deep breathing, to build a bit of calm.
- Offer rewards (unstructured time, being a teacher’s helper) for working a specific amount of time.
Teaching Strategies for ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: Positive Teaching Strategies to Uplift Students with ADHD
- Read: 7 Surprising Ways ADHD Shows Up in the Classroom
- Read: 27 Classroom Accommodations That Target Common ADHD Challenges
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF ADDITUDE
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