What teachers see: How ADHD impacts learning in grade school

By Amanda Morin

Expert reviewed by Bob Cunningham, EdM

ADHD can make it harder for grade-schoolers to finish their schoolwork and get along with the teacher and other students. Here’s what your child’s teacher may be seeing.

Starts assignments but doesn’t complete them

  • Your child starts to work independently in class but gets irritated by the noise another child is making.
  • Your child starts off participating in a group project but then drifts off and stops contributing.
  • Your child goes to look something up in a book and just keeps reading, instead of going back to the assignment.

The issue: Kids with ADHD can be easily distracted and get derailed in the middle of assignments.

Is always talking

  • Your child interrupts with questions or comments during instructional time.
  • Your child irritates other kids by talking during quiet work time.
  • Your child has trouble getting to the point when answering a question.

The issue: Kids with ADHD often talk excessively and blurt out their thoughts.

Doesn’t work well in groups

  • Your child is argumentative and always has to have the last word.
  • Your child won’t let other kids make a presentation and insists on being the one to talk.
  • Your child calls other kids “stupid” and puts down their ideas.

The issue: Kids with ADHD can get frustrated when they don’t get what they want. They might have trouble filtering what they say and understanding how they come across to others.

Appears to be “spacing out” during lessons

  • Your child asks “what?” even when actively listening.
  • Your child doesn’t remember the teacher’s directions.
  • Your child doesn’t know what items to have for a project.

The issue: Kids with ADHD often have trouble focusing and paying attention.

Key takeaways

About the author

About the author

Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Bob Cunningham, EdM has been part of Understood since its founding. He’s also been the chief administrator for several independent schools and a school leader in general and special education.


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