Teaching Strategies

“A child with ADHD can be quite disruptive in class. Are there simple ways I can help them to cope during class?”

Every child is entitled to receive the full curriculum – and for most children with ADHD, a mainstream school is regarded as the best place for this to occur. There are many strategies to help you manage a child with ADHD so the classroom is a more conducive learning place for everyone, though you may need to take care so the class understands a child with ADHD is not being treated favourably.

  • Seat the ADHD child within the normal seating pattern, but close to your desk
  • To minimise distractions, seat the ADHD child near the front, so their back is to the other children
  • Try to place a good role-model in the vicinity – peer tutoring and co-operative learning being desirable
  • Seat the ADHD child away from distracting stimuli, such as doors or windows
  • If possible, have a quiet, low distraction area available.

Some other strategies you may want to consider are:

  • Establishing a hand up system if anyone wants to talk. This will encourage an ADHD child to think before they speak. A similar measure is to have a five second pause before accepting any answer – this will help an ADHD child to slow down
  • Allowing an ADHD child to wear headphones while undertaking desk-based work. This will help screen out external stimuli so they can concentrate on the task in hand
  • Controlling noise levels by using a ‘traffic light’ poster with a moveable arrow. Green signals ‘free talking’, amber signals ‘whispering only’ and red signals ‘total silence’. Providing simple visual reminders like this can be very effective for ADHD children
  • Providing a stress toy so an ADHD child has something to do with their hands when they’re required to sit quietly. A foam ball is ideal, since it won’t make a sound if dropped, or injure anyone if thrown.

Following instructions – children with ADHD may only hear parts of what’s being said around them, which makes following instructions especially tricky. Therefore, instructions should be kept brief and to the point. When possible, have the child repeat back what’s being asked of them. Writing instructions down can also be useful, since the child can then keep checking to see they’re following what’s expected.

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