- Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) usually benefit from ADHD accommodations established by parents and teachers. These classroom accommodations should be made after careful consideration of a child’s ADHD symptoms and are intended to help support with challenges that children may be having in school. Parents should talk to teachers about the possible accommodations that can be made for their individual children and these should be recorded in any support documentation created by the school.
Possible accommodations for kids with ADHD include:
It’s important to position an ADHD child’s desk in a place with minimum distraction. This might need to be at the front of the classroom away from the window, or the door. Also, placing their desk close to the teacher’s desk allows a teacher to redirect them as necessary if they get distracted or disruptive. It’s worth considering having a desk that is away from other children for at least some of the time for a child who is easily distracted by other classmates. Depending on the age of the child, it’s a good idea to discuss with them where they think will be best for them to sit. This is a great way to build trust with a new pupil as they know the teacher is acting in their best interests. It’s a good idea (where possible) to have some seating outside the classroom too where a child can go if needed.
Create Opportunities for Children with ADHD to Move Around
ADHD children need regular opportunities to move around. They need frequent physical and brain breaks to alleviate restlessness or anxiety. The exact duration and frequency of these breaks depend upon the child, the environment and the available resources. Where necessary, students should be permitted to step outside the classroom to compose themselves. This should not be seen as a punishment.
Create a Consistent and Predictable Routine
It’s crucial for all children to know what to expect and also what is expected of them and a child with ADHD may need this reinforcing. So, one accommodation that school staff can make for children with ADHD is to have clearly defined appropriate classroom behaviour displayed somewhere that is visible. This could be in the form of a class rules charter or photos of exemplary conduct. Pupils with ADHD should be encouraged to talk about this regularly to ensure that they are clear about the rules.
Assignments should also be written on the board and clearly provide a specific timeframe for students to read them and if necessary, write them down. ADHD students really need routine, and one of the things that teachers can do to help them prepare for when the bell rings is to inform them five minutes before lunch bell, gym time, library, etc.
Establish ways to Communicate with Children with ADHD
One of the things that ADHD children long for is attention; in fact, they are often so hungry for attention that they may even seek it inappropriately. So, it may be helpful for teachers to create a smart strategy of letting students with ADHD know when their behaviour is getting out of hand.
For instance, teachers can come up with a secret word or code which they can use in letting the students with ADHD know when they are speaking out of turn or acting inappropriately. Teachers can stand close to the desk of the student when presenting lessons and make use of a pre-arranged hand sign to communicate when necessary.
Another way of providing ADHD pupils with the attention they crave is to make them feel special. This might be by allowing them to help out with a special job they can do regularly. This helps them to build a relationship with school staff and can help to raise a child’s self-esteem.
Our blog Five Communication Strategies for Parents of Kids with ADHD has further communication tips that you may find useful.
If your child with ADHD is unsure about appropriate social behaviours, then teachers could set up social-behaviour goals and follow them up with a reward programme. Also, teachers can encourage cooperative learning tasks to help children with ADHD work well with other classmates. It’s possible for teachers to encourage social interactions with classmates and even plan teacher-directed group activities if they can see that a child with ADHD appears lonely or withdrawn. Just like any other child, a child with ADHD wants to be liked by other children in their class and it’s important not to exclude them from being with their peers.
Allow them to “Buddy Up”
One of the most effective tools that teachers can use is Peer Coaching. Children with ADHD can be paired up with a classmate who is a strong role model and partner in the areas in which there are difficulties. With time management, the student can take cues from classmates. In fact, if your child with ADHD is paired with another student who is organised and well-behaved, they may end up developing some of those skills simply by observing their partner. If your child works on assignments as partners, they can learn how to plan, prioritise and complete these projects.
Clear communication between school and home
A child with ADHD can be very challenging both at home and in the classroom. It’s important that there is a good level of consistent communication between school staff and parents/carers. For this to be really effective the child needs to know that this happens in their best interest.
Sometimes, it may seem like kids with ADHD can’t control their actions; they may easily become distracted and this often leads to frustration, poor grades and disappointment for parents and their children. However, it is possible for children with ADHD to succeed in their studies provided that schools and parents use the right strategies such as the ones discussed above.
These tips can help parents and teachers to manage children with ADHD, to enable them to overcome their academic challenges and significantly improve their skills of time management, concentration and organisation. Furthermore, this will help to increase your child’s self-esteem and confidence. Always bear in mind that these changes won’t happen overnight; give your child some time to adjust to new habits and routines. As soon as your child begins to understand how to study, then your child will be on their way to learning more effectively.
The suggestions included here are merely ideas and will need to be modified and reviewed regularly. Accommodations for children with ADHD should be based on what works for an individual child and they may only work for a limited time. Many of these ideas can also be used for a child who is waiting to be assessed or has other additional needs. It’s often about trial and error and seeing what works best in different situations.
At The ADHD Centre, Our clinical team of Specialist ADHD Consultant Psychiatrists, Coaches and Therapists are highly experienced and offer only the latest evidence-based treatments to ensure that our clients get the help that they need quickly, safely, and effectively. We offer a wide range of effective treatments which are always individually tailored to best suit your specific needs.
If you would like further support with managing symptoms for you or a loved one, then contact us at the ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via firstname.lastname@example.org We offer private ADHD assessment for children (and adults) and ADHD treatments.
Our FREE E-Book Helping Children with ADHD to Thrive is full of information about child ADHD and has some useful tips for parents and carers.
If your child loves technology you might find this blog useful The Seven best apps to help kids with ADHD thrive