How Teachers Can Help Students With ADHD

This article explores practical approaches and ways for teachers to assist students with ADHD, focusing on enhancing attention, promoting organization, managing behavior, and fostering communication.

In today’s classrooms, teachers face the challenge of supporting students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

This neurodevelopmental disorder affects students’ ability to focus, leading to academic and social struggles. However, by understanding ADHD and implementing effective strategies, teachers can empower these students to succeed. 

Teachers can create an inclusive environment where every student can thrive by implementing these strategies and collaborating with parents and professionals.

Ways to assist students with ADHD

Common Signs And Symptoms Of ADHD

Common signs and symptoms of ADHD in students can vary, but here are some indicators teachers can look out for in the classroom:


Students with ADHD may struggle to focus on tasks, have difficulty following instructions, appear forgetful, frequently lose or misplace materials, and have trouble organizing their work.


Students may exhibit excessive fidgeting, restlessness, difficulty staying seated, and an inability to engage in quiet activities. They may also talk excessively or interrupt others.


Impulsive behaviors may include blurting out answers without waiting, difficulty taking turns, and acting without considering consequences. Students with ADHD may struggle to think before they speak or act.

Lack Of Sustained Effort.

Students may have difficulty completing assignments or tasks that require prolonged mental effort. They may start multiple activities but struggle to follow through on them.

Poor Time Management.

Students may struggle to manage their time effectively, often late or missing deadlines. They may also underestimate the time required for tasks or have difficulty prioritizing.

To identify these symptoms, teachers can observe students’ behavior in the classroom and look for patterns of consistent difficulties. It is essential to differentiate between occasional lapses in attention or typical childhood behavior and persistent challenges that significantly impact academic and social functioning.

Teachers can also gather information from parents or guardians, collaborate with other educators or specialists, and utilize formal assessment tools or checklists to evaluate ADHD symptoms. 

Open and ongoing communication with students, parents, and professionals involved in the student’s support network can provide valuable insights into the presence and impact of ADHD symptoms in the classroom. If concerns arise, involving the appropriate professionals for further evaluation and support is recommended.

Improving Focus And Attention

Teachers can assist students with ADHD to improve focus and attention in the classroom through various strategies:

  • Establish a structured and predictable environment with clear expectations and visual cues.
  • Use visual aids and cues to assist with time management and task organization.
  • Break down lessons and assignments into smaller, manageable parts.
  • Incorporate movement and physical activity to release excess energy and enhance engagement.
  • Utilize multi-sensory teaching techniques to appeal to different learning styles.
  • Provide frequent and specific feedback to reinforce positive behavior and progress.
  • Minimize distractions by creating a focused learning environment.
  • Encourage the development of self-regulation skills through self-monitoring and self-calming techniques.
  • Collaborate with parents and professionals to create a comprehensive support plan. Remember flexibility and ongoing collaboration are crucial to supporting students with ADHD effectively.

Classroom Accommodations And Modifications

Individual students may have unique needs. So it’s essential to determine the most effective accommodations and modifications. Here are some recommended classroom accommodations and modifications that can benefit students with ADHD:

Provide Preferential Seating.

Allowing students with ADHD to sit in a location that minimizes distractions and helps them maintain focus can be beneficial. This might involve seating them near the front of the class or away from windows or high-traffic areas.

Use Visual Aids. 

Utilize visual aids, such as charts, diagrams, and graphic organizers, to help students organize information, follow instructions, and understand concepts more effectively.

Use Timers And Schedules.

Incorporate visual timers or schedules to help students manage their time more effectively. Timers can be used for specific tasks or to indicate the duration of an activity, while schedules can outline the order and timing of activities throughout the day.

Implement Organizational Systems.

Teach and reinforce organizational strategies, such as using color-coded folders, checklists, or digital tools, to help students keep track of assignments, materials, and deadlines.

Allow Movement Breaks.

Incorporate short movement breaks into the daily schedule to allow students to release excess energy and improve focus. These breaks include stretching, quick physical activities, or simple movement exercises.

Inclusive Classroom Culture.

Create a positive and accepting classroom environment where students feel comfortable asking for help, seeking clarification, and participating in discussions. To further assist students with ADHD, encourage peer support and empathy among students.

Managing Disruptive Behavior

To assist students with ADHD, and effectively manage disruptive behavior and impulsivity, teachers can employ the following strategies:

Use Positive Reinforcement. 

Implement a system of positive reinforcement to acknowledge and reward desired behaviors. Offer verbal praise, small incentives, or a token system to encourage students with ADHD when they exhibit self-control, follow instructions, or demonstrate improved behavior. Celebrate their successes and provide specific feedback to reinforce positive actions.

Use Redirection And Reminders.

When students with ADHD display disruptive behavior or impulsivity, use gentle redirection techniques to guide their attention back to the task. This can involve non-verbal cues like eye contact or a subtle touch, proximity control by standing nearby, or discreet verbal reminders to refocus their attention without drawing unnecessary attention from peers.

Calm-Down Corner Or Safe Space.

Create a designated area in the classroom where students can go to calm down or take a break when they feel overwhelmed or impulsive. Equip this space with sensory tools like stress balls, fidget toys, or noise-canceling headphones to help students self-regulate their emotions and regain focus before rejoining the class.

By implementing these strategies, teachers can effectively manage disruptive behavior and impulsivity in students with ADHD while promoting a positive and inclusive classroom environment that supports their academic and social development.

Collaborating With Parents And Professionals

Collaboration between teachers, parents, and other professionals is crucial in providing comprehensive support for students with ADHD. Here are some effective ways teachers can collaborate:

Open Lines Of Communication.

Foster a positive and proactive relationship with parents by maintaining open and frequent communication. Regularly share updates on the student’s progress, challenges, and strategies implemented in the classroom. Encourage parents to share insights, concerns, and observations from home.

Conduct Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Schedule dedicated meetings with parents to discuss the student’s strengths, challenges, and academic goals. Use these opportunities to exchange information, set expectations, and create a shared understanding of the student’s needs. Collaborate on developing strategies that can be implemented at home and in the classroom.

Involve Other Professionals.

Collaborate with school psychologists, counselors, or special education specialists who have expertise in supporting students with ADHD. Seek their input, guidance, and recommendations for individualized strategies or interventions that can be implemented in the classroom.

Share Insights And Observations.

Communicate relevant observations and insights about the student’s behavior, attention, and progress to other professionals involved in the student’s support network. Share information about strategies that have been successful in the classroom and seek input on additional strategies or modifications that could be beneficial.

Collaborate On Individualized Plans. 

When developing individualized education plans (IEPs) or behavior intervention plans (BIPs) for students with ADHD, involve parents and other professionals. Seek their input and expertise in setting goals, determining accommodations, and outlining strategies to support student success across different environments.

Attend Workshops/Training Sessions.

Stay informed about the latest research, strategies, and interventions related to ADHD by attending professional development workshops or training sessions. Share this knowledge with parents and other professionals to enhance their understanding and ability to support students with ADHD.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, teachers play a crucial role in assisting students with ADHD. By setting clear expectations, using positive reinforcement, providing accommodations, and fostering a supportive environment, teachers can effectively assist students with ADHD in their academic journey. 

Collaboration with parents and professionals, continuous education, and a focus on creating an inclusive classroom environment are vital to helping these students succeed. With the proper support, students with ADHD can overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

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