Teaching Strategies for Children with ADHD
Accommodations for ADHD students
By: Lonnie A. Guthrie
Students with ADHD have special needs in the classroom. The law says that public schools must help students with special needs learn as if they were no different than their peers. Schools, teachers, and parents work together to come up with ways to help ADHD students work in a normal classroom setting. Teachers use plans made up for each ADHD student to guide them in how to work best to meet the student’s individual needs.
There are three ways to make changes in the classroom in order to best reach the ADHD student. These changes are physical, instructional, and behavioral.
Students with ADHD have trouble focusing on their work. ADHD students may be easily distracted by things such as open doors, open windows, and other students. Teachers can do simple things to help make the physical learning environment better for children with ADHD. Try asking your child’s teacher to:
- Seat your child at the front of the classroom where there are fewer distractions
- Write assignments, daily lessons, and schedules on a chalkboard or easel
- Use a buddy system to assure assignments are copied correctly
- Provide reasonable breaks for students, when needed
This can help keep the student’s attention on the teacher. It also provides structure in the classroom for the student.
For some students with ADHD, paying attention in class is hard. Some students are unable to follow the teacher’s train of thought. Teachers can help by:
- Giving examples and telling stories to describe what they are saying
- Using slides and pictures to help students understand the lesson
- Having students join their classmates to act out what they think the teacher is saying
For some ADHD students, finishing tests or assignments on time is hard. Teachers can give students with ADHD more time to finish these tasks. It can foster a sense of accomplishment.
It is common for students with ADHD to act out in class. This is often because they may have low self-esteem or may be impulsive. Teachers can help by telling the student when they have done well on class work. It is important to develop a positive plan to address unwanted behavior. Some students need personal time with the teacher. Setting time each week for the teacher and the student to meet alone shows the student that the teacher cares.
Whatever the method, teachers and schools can make simple accommodations to make the school day easier for your child with ADHD.
1. Pacer Center, Inc. (2001). ACTion Sheet PHP-c49: School accommodations and modifications. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from http://www.pacer.org/parent/php/PHP-c49.pdf
2. Blazer, B. (1999, November/December). Developing 504 classroom accommodation plans: A collaborative systematic parent-student-teacher approach. Teaching Exceptional Children, 32, 28-33.
3. Bosworth, K. (1997). ADHD—The good, the bad, & the hidden: A student’s thoughts. Teacher Talk, 3. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from http://adhd.kids.tripod.com/thoughts.html