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ADHD Special Needs Factsheet

What Teachers Should Know

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) causes students to be more inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive than is normal for their age. ADHD can affect a student's behavior, learning, emotions, and relationships.

Some students with ADHD have received misguided scolding for not listening, not paying attention, or not trying. This can put them at risk for low self-esteem, depression, anger, or school failure. Teachers can help students learn to manage the issues ADHD causes and provide encouraging support.

What Teachers Can Do

  • Reduce distractions by seating the student near you instead of a window.
  • Talk with parents and ask for their help. Keep a daily journal of behavior and progress notes to share with parents.
  • Teach the student how to use a scheduling and assignment book. 
  • Teach good study skills, including underlining, note-taking, and reading aloud to help with focus and information retention.
  • Give clear, brief instructions.
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Stay on the lookout for positive behaviors to praise, such as staying seated, not calling out, taking turns, etc.
  • Pair the student with a buddy to do an end-of-day checklist so the right books, materials, and other important stuff go home.
  • Be sensitive to self-esteem issues. Provide feedback to the student in private, and avoid asking the student to perform difficult tasks in front of classmates.
  • Ask the school counselor, psychologist, or special-ed teacher to help design behavioral programs to address specific problems in the classroom.
  • Allow the student to have brief, regularly scheduled exercise breaks. Find opportunities for the student to be active, such as standing while working on assignments or delivering materials to the principal's office.
Reviewed by: Shirin Hasan, MD
Date reviewed: November 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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