Classroom Management Strategies for ADHD Students


ADD/ADHD Strategies 

Submitted by: UnregisteredOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums

Dealing with AD/HD kids is tough, and I’m speaking both as a special education teacher and a person with ADD. However, there are a bunch of things I have found that work with my students, at least most of the time!

  1. Since many children with AD/HD have other learning disabilites that tend to be masked by their zany behavior, I would recommend having the boy tested. Maybe part of the reason he is out of control is because the work is too difficult for him (or, alternatively, too easy.)
  2. Give him Playdough or silly putty to play with while you are giving instructions, reading out loud, etc. Or, let him draw or color. This may sound like letting him off the hook, but I have found that many AD/HD people focus better and absorb more of what they hear when they have something to do.
  3. Get the whole class up and moving now and then. I like to have a two minute stretch in the middle of every period. Or, you can use games such as Around the World to practice math facts and get the kids moving at the same time.
  4. Expect him to wiggle. He can’t sit completely still, and even if he could, he would be concentrating so hard on doing that that all instructions would go out the window. If other students are distracted by him, put him in the back of the room so he can get up, lean against the wall, etc. If he gets out of his seat and wanders around the room, make sure it is really interfering with instruction before you make him sit down. I have a student who moves to a different chair about every fifteen minutes, but the others have gotten used to this and he gets his work done, and that’s what really counts.


Submitted by: UnregisteredOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums
I have a student who is diagnosed ADHD. He crawls around, is often found on the floor in a daze, or just walking around. I found that since I put a fish tank in the front of the room he is calmed by this, and I use it as a reward when he does his work.

Ideas to use with ADD/ADHD students 
Submitted by: UnregisteredOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums

I am a veteran teacher who has just been diagnosed with ADD. I am having a better understanding of just how confusing it can be. Imagine you had fifteen people who all wanted to say something to you, as well as a song in your head. Now imagine that you cannot differentiate between whose voice is which; you cannot filter out thoughts; and you have just eaten a big bag of M&Ms. It is a Frightening and confusing feeling. (Led to a mental health breakdown with me.) While meds can help, as you can see with this boy, they wear off, often at bad times.

Here are some things that I do to get me and my ADHD students through a day…

  1. Allow student to shift in his seat, change seats, or move around every now and then.
  2. Provide quiet “fidget toys”. This is crucial during times when you want him to take in a lot of info at once. The thing about this disorder is that it doubles a person’s processing time. It comes across as the kid not paying attention, being disruptive, or rude. (We get very defensive when confused.) It does help, for whatever reason, to have something in the hands to fidget with or even (I know this is an unpopular one…) a piece of gum. By occupying the physical impulses, the brain works better and can concentrate.
  3. Written plans, goals, and contracts work well. A visual reminder can really make all of the difference in the world.
  4. Give the child important jobs to do, especially ones in which he has to do something physical. “Joe, could you bring this to the office for me?” It is crucial that a kid with this disorder feels a part of things. Also, when confused, a lot of ADHD kids will get angry or violent. A pre-arranged signal between you and him could remind him that he is “floating out”, and if necessary, signal that he needs to take a short walk to the bathroom or water fountain to cool down.

Strategies for ADD/ADHD Students 
Submitted by: shansbOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums

I am a first grade teacher on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. I average about 4-5 ADD or ADHD students in my class each year. I’ve been teaching for 7 years. Here are some strategies that I have found helpful.

  1. Get the counselors, parents, etc. involved right away and document everything.
  2. When you are on the floor, put a piece of tape in an X or a box for him to stay in. Explain that this is his space and nobody can go in except him.
  3. Keep him close to you. I would keep him at arms distance so you can keep a gentle hand on his shoulder, desk, etc.
  4. Many “busy” kids need something to touch while you teach to keep their focus. I put a piece of sticky velcro (the soft side) on the underside of their desk. They can rub this velcro while you teach and it helps with their impulse to move about.
  5. Walking Papers. We give the student a 2 pocket folder and have him hold onto the left and right side while we trace his hands with a black marker. This shows him exactly where his hands should be when he holds the folder. He takes this folder with him any time he walks in the hallway, to reading, to the OT, bathroom, counselors office, lunch, etc. This folder keeps his hands busy so that he is not using them to hurt or bother someone else. It has worked really well with a boy I have in my class right now. We give him a sticker each day when he has used it well and not forgotten.
  6. I’ve used a sticky note cut into three, four or five strips on their desks. (We target one behavior you want changed at a time.) Each time I have to remind them to sit still (or whatever the behavior is), I take away a strip. If there are any strips left at the end of the day (or half a day) he gets a sticker, computer time, to read a book (whatever he likes).
  7. I have let students stand who really have a tough time sitting while they work.

I hope some of these ideas help you. Consistency on your part and established routines make a world of difference. It also may be a good idea if you communicate with other teachers who come in contact with him so you are all using the same strategies.

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