Ways To Help Your ADHD Student Adjust To The Classroom

Having a student in your class who struggles with ADHD can be a challenge, especially if you have a large class size. Many teachers might wonder how best tot meet the needs of the student while maintaining classroom rules and order. Here are some ideas to consider.

1. Provide breaks.

People with ADHD need to have frequent breaks from the task. You might meet with your student at the beginning of the year and ask them what they need during class time. They might need to get up and walk around the room. You might allow a "punch card" where the student has three "free walks" during the period, or a certain amount during the day. Your student might also like to stand up periodically to help focus. 

2. Choose the seat carefully.

Windows and doors can be very distracting to a person with ADHD. Try to place the student in an area with as little traffic and "goings-on" as possible. This could mean placing the student close to your own desk, or at the very front of the classroom so the actions of the other students aren't immediately visible. 

3. Post Instructions and Repeat

If you give a series of instructions, it's best to give them one at a time when stating them verbally. If you have a series of steps, state them verbally and post them on the board so that the student can refer to them often to stay on task. 

4. Adjust homework and testing.

Your should adapt your teaching style to the learning style of your student. Instead of having long term tests, for example, you might provide weekly quizzes on subject material. Long tests can be difficult for a student with ADHD to complete, even if they have mastered the subject material. You might also administer end of year tests or end of unit tests in small batches, with multiple choice on day, long answer the next day, and an essay question the day after that. Homework should not be "busy work" for the sake of giving homework. Make sure homework is purposeful and that the assignments are generally short or broken up over the course of the unit. 

5. Get organized.

It's not uncommon for a student with ADHD to struggle with keeping things together. Provide a binder that can stay in the classroom and post resources online so that the student doesn't have to rely on handouts that can get lost between the classroom and the locker and the home. You might also require the student to write down due dates and plans for assignments in a planner that stay on his or her desk.

You can also consider reaching out to an ADHD coach to see what they might suggest for skills to focus on with your student.