ADHD/ADD – Is Medicine the Only Solution?

ADHD students may talk when it’s not their turn and move around the classroom. Following instructions is not their forte, and they may have trouble turning in their homework. Their fine motor skills may be lacking, as well, which makes handwriting hard to read. If no one directly supervises long-term projects, they are likely to have difficulty completing them. If this sounds like a student in your class, here are some solutions to help you more successfully teach them from HelpGuide.org.


First, keeping a positive attitude about finding and implementing strategies that work is necessary. Give the student honest praise immediately when they accomplish good work and behave well. A reward or point/token system may also be effective.

Additionally, develop some warning signals with your ADHD student. For example, you might have a certain hand signal or sticky note on the student’s desk to indicate behavior is heading south. Talk to the student in private about their behavior, not in front of the class. Focus on correcting behavior that is unintentional and that is distracting to the other students or the lesson.

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You can also use visuals, like charts, color coding, and pictures to help when you deliver lessons. Try to do more difficult work earlier in the day, and make outlines for note-taking to organize lesson information.

For student work, make worksheets and tests that have fewer questions, and give regular short quizzes instead of long tests. Cut down on timed tests as well. When you give assessments, let ADHD students test the way that works best for them, which may be orally or by filling in the blanks. Break up long projects into pieces with a defined goal for each part. Give partial credit for late work instead of just handing out zeros.

Help a student develop their organization skills by having a master binder with separate sections for each subject. Color-code each subject. Give students a notebook with a section for homework to do, completed homework, and parent paperwork. Ensure students have a way to write down assignments.

When you start a lesson, use a clue the student can hear, like a timer. Make eye contact with students with ADHD. Put the activities of the lesson on the board, and tell students what they will learn and what materials they’ll need. Make instructions short and organized with visuals.

Add in some various activities, particularly fast games or intense activities. Give the ADHD student breaks and let them squeeze a rubber ball or tap something that isn’t noisy to have a physical release.

Summarize key points at the end of the lesson, and have a few students repeat what the assignment is if you give one, and then put it on the board. Tell students exactly what they need to take home to do their homework.


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