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People with ADHD have brain differences that affect their attention. They are distracted more easily than people who don’t have it. They often have trouble staying organized, staying focused on a task, and finishing what they start.

ADHD affects behavior, too. Some people may have trouble sitting still, waiting, or listening. Some interrupt too often, or are quick to get upset. Some do things in a rush instead of taking their time. ADHD affects different people in different ways.

If you have ADHD, you know it can make you feel misunderstood and frustrated at times. ADHD makes it harder to do your best at school, at home, and with friends. But it doesn't have to hold you back. Instead, learn as much as you can about it.

It takes time to learn to manage ADHD — there's no quick fix. Managing ADHD might mean taking medicine or working with a therapist. Most people with ADHD do both.

You can also try these tips to help with school:

  • Sit in the front of class to limit distractions.
  • Turn off your phone when doing homework. This limits distractions too.
  • Talk with your teacher about your ADHD. Some students with ADHD need extra time to take tests. Some need smaller class sizes or a quiet place to complete work. Others need a tutor. Ask your teacher to help you plan and do what's right for you.
  • Use tools that help you stay organized. Keep track of assignments in a planner or on a phone app. List things you need to bring home. Set phone reminders for classes and activities, or write them in a planner.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Daily exercise can improve attention and school performance for people with ADHD. It also keeps your positive emotions flowing.
  • Take activity breaks. If you feel restless during school, ask teachers to let you take quick breaks to get up and move. This can help you get focused again when you return to your seat. When you study or do homework, take activity breaks often.
  • Learn to meditate. Mindfulness meditation can improve attention, memory, and focus. It can reduce stress too. It’s easy to learn. Take a few minutes to practice it every day.
  • Pay attention to all the good things about you. Having ADHD is one part of you. And there’s so much more. Think of things others like about you. Maybe you’re creative, kind, or funny. Maybe you have a talent for sports, music, dance, or art. Maybe you’re good with tech, building things, or cooking. Make time for the things you enjoy. Grow your strengths by using them every day. Spend time with the people who see you for who you are. See yourself that way, too.
Medically reviewed by: Shirin Hasan, MD
Date reviewed: May 2022