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How to Support Children with ADHD in the Classroom

How to Support Children with ADHD at School

How to Support Children with ADHD in the Classroom

Children with ADHD can be a challenge for any teacher. They may have trouble paying attention, sitting still, or following directions. These challenges can lead to problems in the classroom.

There are several techniques for including children with ADHD in your classroom. To begin, you must grasp how ADHD impacts learning. Secondly, provide structure and routines in the classroom. Finally, offer positive reinforcement and be patient with children with ADHD.

Supporting ADHD students in the classroom

As the number of individuals diagnosed with ADHD rises, so does the number of students who have it. This has resulted in many problems for parents, teachers, and children. However, these problems aren’t impossible to overcome, but they do need a fair amount of creativity and adaptability.

Treatment plans for children and adults with ADHD work best when implemented by a team of professionals with the support of family and teachers. The success rate for improved behaviour rises when parents, pupils, instructors, teaching assistants, and SENCOs can work together to develop a classroom conduct strategy.

Parents and teachers must collaborate to serve the child’s best interests. This should never be viewed as an adversarial relationship, with parents afraid of the next phone call from the teacher or receiving reports about their child being removed from the learning environment because the teacher didn’t want to deal with their child’s behaviour.

Students with ADHD are frequently disruptive not because they want to be but because their inability to control their actions causes them to be. The child is frequently just as disappointed with their behaviour as, if not more, than the teacher and parents. However, certain measures may be taken to boost these kids’ chances of success and reduce the teachers’ frustration levels.

Because children with ADHD have trouble paying attention and following instructions, they need more structure and specific expectations for their conduct. Some youngsters also benefit from specialised treatment.

Children with ADHD have more than 100 times greater risk of being permanently excluded from school than other children. The social consequences of being excluded are well recognised. One study demonstrated a higher risk of antisocial and criminal conduct; 49% of adult male sentenced prisoners and 33% of female prisoners had been excluded from school.

Children with ADHD are more likely to end up in prison

UKAP (UK ADHD Partnership) reported that teachers’ perceived competence in managing children with ADHD in the classroom is variable and correlated with their professional knowledge and experience.

The difficulty of parenting and teaching children with ADHD should not be underestimated or considered difficult. The kids are usually in motion and may have a hard time comprehending instructions, so the class’s structure may need to be modified slightly to assist the child.

For example, a child’s daily schedule might be displayed on the wall and given to them, so they know what is going on each day. If the teacher expects to change the plan, she should give the pupil sufficient notice to adjust. Making sudden changes can cause someone with ADHD to feel anxious and disruptive.

In addition, behaviorally, ADHD pupils need to know what is expected of them. The teacher should communicate the regulations and penalties so the child can understand. She should also be consistent in applying the rules. It confuses ADHD youngsters when the teacher is inconsistent, which may lead to problems.

The time it takes for the child to adapt is determined individually. Some children can change in minutes, while others may require at least an hour before their behaviour becomes normal.

Make a list of the classroom norms and the consequences if they aren’t obeyed. Give these rules to the child in writing and assist them in returning to the list if one is violated. If a child breaks a rule and is mocked by his or her peers, do not degrade them in front of others.

Make sure that the child or classroom understands everything you say to them. Have the youngster look up at you and repeat the instructions back to you one by one. These directives should be detailed, easy to understand, and concise.

Recognise and reward good behaviour

Always recognise and praise good behaviour in children with ADHD. Children often only receive our attention when they are misbehaving. Children with ADHD quickly learn that the only attention they may get is when they are disruptive, and since they know how to do it effectively, this might be the only action you notice in the classroom.

ADHD children do not consistently finish tasks on time and, therefore, may especially benefit from the attention paid to effort rather than the level of work completed, particularly in the early school years. Many children with ADHD are bright, and although some may have difficulties in school or particular courses, they can succeed if given the appropriate support.

ADHD and Homework

When children need to manage their own time and start bringing home seemingly endless piles of homework from different classes, it can all become too much to juggle. ADHD children have difficulty focusing and organisation, so they become overwhelmed and irritable when their homework piles up. Parents and teachers must work with children to create a system that will help them keep track of their tasks and avoid feelings of failure.

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A daily or weekly assignment notebook may be used to assist ADHD pupils with their homework. This book will keep track of the youngster’s future assignments in one location. Each day, as the kid completes his or her duties, he or she can cross them off or mark a big X through them. This visual representation of completed tasks can help ADHD children stay on top of homework and feel accomplished.

Parents can also aid ADHD children by breaking down large projects into smaller manageable goals that may be completed over time. For example, instead of requesting a ten-page report on animals from your child, you might have him work on one page daily for ten days. This strategy will make it seem less daunting and allow him to see his progress as he goes.

ADDitude Magazine has a good example of a homework system for children with ADHD.

Extra time in exams for children with ADHD

ADHD children generally need more time to finish tasks than normal kids. When feasible, allow them extra time on projects and tests.

If your child has ADHD or other additional needs, they may qualify for help (called ‘access arrangements’) in public examinations.

It is the school’s decision whether this assistance is required, according to criteria set down by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) on behalf of the exam boards, which Ofqual oversees. The JCQ establishes evidence requirements for each type of access arrangement based on the degree to which they represent the children’s best interests. To qualify, a student must satisfy these requirements. JCQ monitors schools to verify that the required evidence is fulfilled.

When a school suspects that a student may require access arrangements, it should get evidence of need from classroom teachers and others (such as parents, the pupil, and any other staff and external professionals involved). Unless the necessary information is already available, the school may need to do assessment tests (for example, reading, spelling, comprehension, writing or processing speed)

If additional time is not an option, let the child know that he or she may take breaks as needed but must return to work for a set amount of time. This way, the child can avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

ADHD children may also benefit from having their work checked more frequently. For example, rather than waiting until the end of the week to check homework, check it every night or every other night. This will help the child stay on track and feel supported.

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Where your child does homework is as important as when. You should set up a homework area that is quiet and free of distractions. Ensure all the necessary materials, such as pencils, paper, and textbooks. Let your child take breaks every 20 minutes to move around and release some energy.

Communication between teachers and parents should be continuous and consistent, especially when there isn’t a problem.

These approaches, as well as others that may be most effective depending on the youngster’s specific circumstances, will assist in improving ADHD kids’ success in school.

Where to go for help

Contact the SEN coordinator or “SENCO” in your child’s school or nursery if you believe your child has ADHD or other additional needs. Contact your local council if your child is not in a school or nursery.

Your local Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service can advise you about SEND.


Contact (For families of disabled children)


Freephone Helpline for parents/carers of disabled children: 0808 808 3555


Extra support in mainstream schools



Phone: 0300 003 0005

Resources to support children with SEN



Phone: 0808 800 5000


Council for Disabled Children





Phone: 0808 800 3333


The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF)


National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen)


Phone: 01827 311500


SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years

Guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25, from 1 September 2014.

View the SEND code of practice

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