Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) find many aspects of education challenging, especially studying at home. ADHD children typically struggle with patience, organisation and focus. Kids with ADHD tend to rush through their homework, making mistakes. They often find it difficult to organise their thoughts and tasks, which then prevents them from planning ahead.
In this article, we will be looking at some apps and websites to support ADHD children studying at home, as well as offering some suggestions that may help children to focus better on their homework.
A child with ADHD might also struggle with study skills such as reading, concentration and writing. Here are a few apps and electronic resources to assist an ADHD child studying at home:
Brain.fm provides music to improve focus and productivity. You can choose the type of task you’re doing and set a timer to clearly mark when study time has finished.
Speechify is text-to-speech technology that reads online documents out loud. You can also scan book pages with a phone camera and it will read them for you. This is great for a reluctant or slow reader.
You might want to use a visual timer to time your child’s homework. Online Stopwatch is available across many devices and is very clear to use and understand.
Otter.ai is speech-to-text software and is useful for a child who lacks the motivation to write. It records people’s voices as text. It’s great for children who have lots of ideas but struggle to get them down on paper. Once recorded, you can copy and paste the text to the place where it’s needed. It’s not 100% accurate, but you could use this as an opportunity for a student to learn to check and edit their work.
Trello is a useful app/website for organisation. You use it to create lists containing cards that you can move around from list to list. You can add colour coding, deadlines and tick lists within each card. It’s a useful way to write to-do lists and break them down into manageable chunks.
Audionote is a notepad and voice recorder. It’s designed to be used on an iPad and will appeal to those who like attractive visuals as you can also add pictures and diagrams.
There are many mind mapping websites and apps such as SimpleMind, XMind and Mindly. They are all designed to provide clarity and improve productivity. They are useful for students who like visual representation.
Audiobooks has a wide range of bestselling audiobooks and podcast episodes. This is great for students who love learning, but not reading.
There are a great many types of assistive technology that support children with ADHD and here we have listed just a handful of ideas. The good news is that there is more and more innovative software being developed all the time. It’s just a case of trying out different things until you find something that works well for your child.
Home Study Tips
Here are a few ideas to support ADHD kids with their homework:
Create A Designated Homework Area
A good starting point is to establish a space where your child can complete their homework. Ideally, this should be a desk or a table that is not somewhere that your child associates with other activities. The ideal location will be a quiet study space with limited distractions away from noise and movement; a place where children can easily clear their minds and focus on their studies. Make sure your child understands that there are no phones, TVs, or other distractions during their study time.
Establish A Consistent Routine
This point can never be overemphasised; children with ADHD need to have a consistent routine. It ensures that they start their homework and remain focused. So, parents need to establish a time each day for their children to sit down and read or finish their homework.
Finding the optimum time for homework will probably take some trial and error. It may seem sensible to start homework as soon as children come home from school to get it done and out of the way, but instead, they might need a snack break and a chance to unwind after a busy day.
While some children do better in quiet places, others may like a little background music to help them concentrate. Ensure that your kid’s homework routine is stress-free and highly predictable. Once homework is completed, ensure that completed homework is safely placed in the homework folder, by your child, and that they return all appropriate items to their bag.
Study in Spurts
Kids with ADHD need to take breaks because ADHD can make it difficult to focus. One strategy that can help is to study in short spurts, so provide your child with regular breaks from homework and make room for a snack or a walk. This will help refresh and reset your child’s mind. In addition, it will offer your child the chance to expend extra energy and enhance their concentration once they return.
Observe How Your Child Learns
Understanding how your child learns is crucial; their preferred learning style may be auditory, visual, or kinaesthetic or they might have a combined learning style. At school, a child may not be able to choose how they learn, so it’s really helpful if you can get this right at home. Parents should try to modify their children’s studying habits to fit their learning style whether they like talking out loud, music, walking while learning, or using visual aids. Understand that every child learns differently, so helping your child to study in ways that work for them can significantly improve their understanding and retention.
Always Show Support
Constantly encourage your child to do their best. It’s perfectly okay to help when your child asks for help even though they should be encouraged to eventually try to complete their work independently. Helping your children to look at challenges positively will keep them motivated and will show that you’re interested in their improvement.
Know When To Quit
Kids with ADHD can become easily overwhelmed and frustrated. So, while it’s good to encourage your child to keep going as long as they can, you mustn’t push them too much. Once you discover that your child has reached a limit, then stop for the night. Contact their school to explain why homework wasn’t completed.
Always offer praise and reward your child after doing their homework. Set clear rules and rewards e.g. 30 minutes of studying = 30 minutes of gaming/playing outside, or whatever your child enjoys.
Try Moving Around
It’s often challenging for children with ADHD to sit in one place for a long period. So, allowing your child to stand up and move around can significantly help to maintain focus. You can even turn to study into a physical activity; for instance, asking your child to count out steps when practising maths. Parents are also advised to provide their children with something they can fidget with as they study; stress balls are an excellent item for children with ADHD.
If ADHD is making you or your child’s life difficult, make sure you reach out to someone and let them know. It could be a friend, family member or you may require professional support from a teacher or your GP. At The ADHD Centre, we offer an 8-step Parenting Course designed to make family life a little less stressful. It allows you to work with one of our expert ADHD coaches to work out strategies that work for you and your family.
If you’d like to find out more about our ADHD child assessments and treatment, please get in touch with The ADHD Centre. We offer both face-to-face (London and Manchester) and online child ADHD testing. You can contact us on 0800 061 4276 or via [email protected].
Our parent ebook Helping Children With ADHD TO Thrive is full of useful information and advice about child ADHD.
Updated May 2022