Supporting Students with ADHD in School

Reinforcing Good Behavior

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Providing feedback to students is important. Reinforcing good behavior with positive rewards may produce more positive behavior in school, at home, and in social settings. You can do this in several ways, including:

Praising students immediately and specifically for positive behavior with nonverbal signals, such as holding fingers in a "V" sign for "victory" or giving a thumbs up when rules are followed.

Writing personalized sticky notes to students with and without ADHD that you place on their desks may help with overall classroom management.

These notes should be specific and sincere, and they should not exaggerate a student's accomplishments. For instance, rather than "Nice work," a note might say "Nice work completing your worksheet on time."

  • You worked well with others today.
  • You finished your assignment on time.
  • You worked hard on your project today.
  • You remembered your facts.
  • You followed class rules today.

Classroom-Based Rewards

Implementing a reward system in your classroom may reinforce positive behavior in students with ADHD. Other students may benefit, as well.

For instance, elementary school teachers might place a marble in a jar every time they "catch" students behaving appropriately on the playground or in the cafeteria or hallways. Once the class has earned enough marbles to fill the jar, the teacher can acknowledge this with a free period to work on an art project or something else that will be valuable to them.

Likewise, a middle school or high school teacher may want to consider awarding points to a class each time all of the students cooperate with their team members when working on a group project. When the class has earned a set number of points, the teacher might think about providing a group reward, such as extra computer or reading time.