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Academic Accommodations for Children with ADHD

Children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may face many obstacles in the classroom. Structure and consistency are the two main keys to success for children withBlog-ADHD-Accommodations-Main-Landscape ADHD, but each case presents with its own challenges and accommodations should address the unique needs of the individual student.

The following are examples of what a child with ADHD may present in the classroom and associated accommodations:

For a student presenting with difficulties sustaining attention and following directions:

  • Instructions should be kept brief and specific and presented one step at a time.
  • Maintain eye contact with child while presenting instructions and have the child “teach” the instructions back to the teacher.
  • Reduce task length (i.e., focus on quality of work rather than quantity) or break complex tasks into smaller pieces.
  • Seat the child near the teacher and away from distractions such as doors, windows, or other students who may be disruptive.
  • Provide a “quiet zone” for the student to complete tests or in-class assignments.
  • Use verbal cues or signals as behavioral prompts when the child falls off task.
  • Set time limits or “challenges” for completing tasks.
  • Provide visual prompts for classroom routines.

For a child presenting with excessive activity and/or impulse control:

  • Allow the child to stand near his or her desk or kneel in his or her chair during seated work as long as no disruption is caused.
  • Use instructional approaches that encourage active responding such as talking, moving, or working at the board.
  • Provide breaks for directed movement such as passing out materials.
  • Reward short periods of waiting or on task behavior and gradually increase the period a child is successful.
  • Encourage non-disruptive activities such as reading or doodling during times of day that have proven problematic.
  • Clearly state rules and expectations, and clearly state positive and negative consequences for behaviors. Review these rules often and post visual reminders.

All children will benefit from positive feedback, reinforcement for small improvements, frequent opportunities for active participation, and assignments related to the child’s interests. Additionally, established routines and schedules, along with both verbal and visual reminders, will help any child to be successful in the classroom environment. Most importantly, remember not to assume that a failure to follow instructions is due to a lack of effort or an intentional failure to pay attention, nor is overactivity or impulsive behavior intended as an act of defiance.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

4 Practices Parents Can Do at Home That Will Help Children with ADHD at School

This guest blog was written by retired teacher, Joyce Wilson.Blog-ADHD-Main-Landscape

It’s common for parents of children with ADHD to be concerned for their children’s behavior at school.
But there’s no need to feel powerless. Implementing a few best practices at home will create a ripple effect and help improve your child’s behavior in the classroom, too.

  1. Encourage Physical Activity

Regular exercise has many benefits for children with ADHD, most having to do with increased brain function. Play games and sports with your child or simply go for a walk outside. The fresh air and bodily movement will help calm his restlessness and sharpen his focus.

It’s wise to let your child’s teacher know that taking away his recess time as a punishment is the exact opposite of what she should do if she wants to see an improvement in his behavior. Let her know how important this active time is for his mental focus.

  1. Encourage Organization

Teach organization and tidiness at home so your child can take these habits to school with her.

Teach her the importance of having a tidy room and work space and help her organize her school supplies. Use dividers, Post-it notes, folders, and color coordination to break her schoolwork down into a manageable, organized chunks.

  1. Create Structure

Your child will benefit from routine in the form of a daily schedule that runs morning to night. Keep schedules and to-do lists posted where your child can see them and include checkboxes next to each task on a list.

Sticking to a schedule helps children with ADHD persist with tasks that they might not necessarily feel like doing at the moment. Insisting they stick to a routine will help performing these tasks become habits for them. For instance, although it’s often difficult for children with ADHD to fall asleep, they still need to stick to a regular sleep schedule the best they can.

  1. Make Your Expectations Clear

When your child is organized, sticking to his schedule, and participating in physical activity like you’ve asked him to, make sure you’re rewarding him for his efforts and thanking him for his cooperation.

Positive reinforcement through small rewards is just one aspect of managing your child’s behavior. Set rules and make it clear to your child that you expect him to follow them at home and at school. Be specific when disciplining your child and let him know exactly how you’d like him to improve his behavior.

Be specific with your praise as well so he can continue to make you proud by doing exactly what you’ve asked him to. Giving him the praise he deserves will encourage him to continue to succeed in life at home and life in the classroom.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

Find-Out-More-About-ADHD
Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher with decades of experience. Today, she is a proud grandmom and mentor to teachers in her local public school system. She and a fellow retired teacher created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.