Instructional strategies

At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for ADHD

By Amanda Morin

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For kids with ADHD, difficulty with focus, hyperactivity and impulsivity can make it harder to learn in the classroom. Here’s a look at some accommodations that can help.

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At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for ADHD

What classroom accommodations can help students with ADHD? Here are some things teachers can try:

For Classroom Learning

• Sit close to the teacher and away from windows and doors.
• Increase space between desks.
• Have teacher stand near student when teaching.
• Provide foot rests, seat cushions or resistance bands on chair legs to help satisfy need to move and improve focus.

For Organization
• Use assignment notebook.
• Provide an extra set of books to keep at home.
• Provide folders and baskets of supplies to keep desk organized.
• Color code materials for each subject.
• Written schedule for daily routines.

For Classwork and Taking
• Provide worksheets with fewer questions and problems.
• Give frequent short quizzes, rather than one long test for each unit of work the teacher goes over.
• Give extra time and quieter space for work and tests.
• Allow student to answer questions out loud, or fill in the blanks
• Allow word processing on computer.
• Give credit for work done instead of just taking away points for late or partial assignments.
• Break long assignments into smaller chunks.
• Don’t grade for neatness

For In-Class Learning

• Give directions out loud and in writing.
• Use pictures and graphs.
• Have a buddy take notes for the student.
• Give the student the lesson outline.
• Check to make sure the student understands the lesson.
• Keep instructions simple and clear.
• Create a “signal” to get the student’s attention. This could be a sticky note on the desk or a hand on a shoulder

For Behavior
• Use a behavior plan with a reward system.
• Praise good behavior. Ignore other behavior as long as it isn’t disruptive
• Talk through behavior problems one-on-one.
• Monitor frustration. Check in with student to understand his mood.
Graphic of At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for ADHD
Graphic of At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for ADHD

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About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Ginny Osewalt

Ginny Osewalt is certified in elementary and special education, with experience in inclusion, resource room and self-contained settings.

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