ADHD Awareness: Tips for Supporting Students

helping ADHD students
Cross Country Education
November 05, 2020 12:25 PM (GMT-05:00)
Resources , School Safety
It’s ADHD Awareness Month: the perfect time to share tips on how to best support students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the classroom and beyond. Our team of educators at Cross Country Education has compiled some practical ways teachers can support kids who struggle to focus and pay attention during school. 

ADHD Supports

One of the most important skills for helping students with ADHD is being able to recognize when they are in need of support. Here are some ways to identify this need (even if the student has not been diagnosed with ADHD or does not have an IEP/504 plan), followed by supports to help students thrive.
Indicators Supports
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to stay in seat
  • Fidgety
  • Move student closer to a teacher or a responsible student since seeing someone else on task may serve as a helpful reminder to focus.
  • Offer a fidget object and frequent breaks as a way to expend energy.
  • Create assignments that are hands-on or tactile in nature.
  • Keep clipboards available in case a student would like to stand or walk while reading or writing.
  • Easily distracted
  • Lack of focus
  • Makes needless errors
  • Provide clear, step-by-step instructions and repeat them as needed.
  • Use a pre-arranged signal to remind the student to focus.
  • Model ways for students to self-check their work.
  • Disruptive
  • Inability to follow rules or directions
  • Excessive talking
  • Reward good behavior and use positive reinforcement often. Refer back to your classroom expectations and any applicable incentives.
  • Provide opportunities for group work so that students can collaborate and engage in conversation.
  • Allow the student to take leadership roles within the classroom.
  • Forgets to complete/turn in work
  • Disorganized workspace
  • Communicate with the student and their family often about upcoming deadlines.
  • Teach the skill of adding due dates in an assignment notebook.
  • Model and teach organization.
  • Implement an accountability routine (such as folder checks) and practice procedures until they become a habit.
  • Easily becomes frustrated
  • Hesitates to start work
  • Turns in late or incomplete work
  • Provide content delivery through multiple modalities.
  • Include graphic organizers, pictures, diagrams, etc. as much as possible.
  • Break large tasks into smaller ones, and acknowledge each step (with praise, small break, sticker, etc.)
  • Offer alternative assignment(s) to meet their needs.

ADHD Resources

For additional insight into increased distraction during the COVID-19 pandemic, read about student behavior amid COVID. For help recognizing other issues which may mimic ADHD in the classroom, along with resources and strategies for effective teaching, visit ADHD Awareness.

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