Managing ADHD at School

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Parents, caregivers, teachers, and other school support team members should work cooperatively to ensure that the school-age child with ADHD has the opportunity for success. An open line of communication between home and school may be important when a child with ADHD requires extra help at school.1 Teachers often are the first to notice ADHD-like behaviors and can provide parents, caregivers, and health care professionals with information that may help with diagnosis and ADHD management. Also, teachers, parents, and caregivers may work together to solve problems and plan ways to support a child's learning at home and at school.2

Strategies That May Help a Child With ADHD in the Classroom1-2

  • Quiet place to work with few distractions
  • Modified work assignments
  • Clear, simple directions for homework and in-class assignments
  • Special test accommodations (eg, taking a test in a quiet space or empty classroom, extra time for test completion)
  • Creating a notebook so that parents, caregivers, and teachers may keep each other informed of the child's progress or difficulties

Steps Parents/Caregivers Can Take to Help the Child1

  • Asking teachers for 2 textbooks (1 for home and 1 for school) to assist the forgetful child
  • Asking for advance notice of homework assignments and test dates so that parents and caregivers can remind their child
  • Taking an active role in the child's homework assignments by3:
    • Creating a schedule and sticking to the same routine every day
    • Hanging up a copy of the schedule to provide visual reinforcement
    • Keeping tasks simple to provide a sense of accomplishment
    • Helping the child get organized
    • Always trying to use brief and clear directions
    • Limiting distractions (eg, TV, music, computer games)

Visit School-Time Resources to Share for more information and tools you can provide to parents and caregivers of school-age children with ADHD. You may also wish to visit the Parents & Caregivers tab or the Educators & Other School Personnel tab of this website for more information about ADHD and school.

References

  1. National Resource Center on AD/HD. What We Know #4: Educational Rights for Children with AD/HD in Public Schools. Landover, MD: National Resource Center on AD/HD. 2007. http://www.help4adhd.org/en/education/rights. Accessed April 2016.
  2. Subcommittee on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Steering Committee on Quality Improvement and Management. ADHD: clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2011:128(5):1007-1022, SI1-SI21.
  3. Rief S. The ADD/ADHD Checklist: A Practical Reference for Parents and Teachers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2008.