The good news is that there are many coping strategies out there to help you deal with an ADHD child.  Medication helps, but you must modify other things such as environment, schedule, and attitude in order to effectively deal with ADHD.


This book will examine more closely those coping strategies.  We’ll give you advice on how to maintain peace in your family and suggestions you can make to allow your child to help themselves. 


So, how do you recognize ADHD?  The symptoms fall into two quite broad categories.

The first category is inattention.  Symptoms include:

1.      Failing to pay close attention to details or making careless mistakes when doing schoolwork or other activities

2.      Trouble keeping attention focused during play or tasks

3.      Appearing not to listen when spoken to

4.      Failing to follow instructions or finish tasks

5.      Avoiding tasks that require a high amount of mental effort and organization such as school projects

6.      Frequently losing items required to facilitate tasks or activities such as school supplies

7.      Excessive distractibility

8.      Forgetfulness

9.      Procrastination or inability to begin an activity

The second is Hyperactivity-Impulsive Behavior.  Symptoms include:

1.      Fidgeting with hands or feet

2.      Squirming in a seat

3.      Leaving a seat often even at inappropriate times

4.      Running or climbing at inappropriate times

5.      Difficulty during quiet play

6.      Frequently feeling restless

7.      Excessive talking

8.      Answering a question before the speaker has finished or interrupting the activities of others at inappropriate times.

9.      Failing to wait for one’s turn

A positive diagnosis is usually made if the person exhibits six or more of the above-named symptoms for at least three months.  Symptoms must appear consistently in varied environments (home, school, etc.) and interfere with normal functioning.


Impulsive people don’t think before they act or speak.


As a result of the disorder, children with ADHD often engage in disruptive activities and antisocial behavior that alienates their peers and other people around them. In addition, their academic performance tends to suffer because of their inattention and easy distractibility.



When you have a child who is diagnosed with ADHD or you, as an adult have been told that you have Adult ADHD, keep in mind that you are in the company of some pretty famous people who have, or still do, struggle with this disorder.

Consider the following list:

·          Alexander Graham Bell – Inventor of the telephone

·          Hans Christian Andersen – Author

·          Beethoven – Composer

·          Harry Belafonte – Actor, Composer

·          Terry Bradshaw – Retired NFL Quarterback and Sports Commentator

·          George Burns – Actor

·          Admiral Richard Byrd – Navy Aviator

·          Andrew Carnegie – Industrialist and Philanthropist

·          Lewis Carroll – Author Alice in Wonderland

·          Prince Charles – Future King of England

·          Cher – Actress/Singer

·          Winston Churchill – Statesman

·          Bill Cosby – Actor

·          Leonardo Da Vinci – Sculptor and Artist

·          Thomas Edison – Inventor

·          Albert Einstein – Inventor

·          Dwight D. Eisenhower – Former President of the United States

·          Benjamin Franklin – Politician, Inventor

·          Michael Jordan – Basketball Player

·          Abraham Lincoln – Former President of the United States

·          Stephen Spielberg – Director, Film Maker

The list literally goes on and on and on.  These people achieved notoriety for their achievements despite their shortcomings.  They suffered from ADHD and overcame the diagnosis to become not only rich and famous, but remembered and revered for their creativity and leadership.

This could be you or your child.  Don’t give up.  Don’t blame yourself.  Take control and take charge.  ADHD can be controlled and sufferers can live normal, productive lives.



basic principles of treatment – for adults and children both – are structure, lifestyle changes and finding and developing talent.


Start by helping children find and develop their talents.  That is very important and is often overlooked.

        What many people who suffer from ADHD lack is structure.  Planning out the steps it takes to accomplish daily tasks – for instance, getting ready for school or completing homework – lets everyone know what expectations are.


A hugely effective tool is to emphasize the positive and downplay the negative whenever you possibly can.  These kids hear ‘no’ 50 times a day.  Perhaps the biggest challenge is pulling out what the child is doing right and focusing on those things.


Try using “labeled praise”.  Labeled praise clearly defines what is positive about a child’s actions. For instance, “You did a great job of cleaning up” would be more effective than simply saying “Thank you for helping me.”


Work as a team with everyone involved.  This means home, school, doctor, etc.  Collaboration between home and school is essential.  It’s important to have everybody on the same page.  This could be accomplished in various ways.


One especially effective one is to keep a daily diary that the child carries back and forth between home and school. 


Setting up a system to use in the classroom and at home for children to earn points they can exchange for other rewards or privileges – such as computer time or an activity – can provide kids with great incentive to adjust behavior. You should also involve the child by allowing him or her to develop a menu of rewards.


Children have a naturally short attention span.  It is for this very reason that you should give immediate feedback along with consequences for behavior and activities.  Feedback must be clear, specific, and occur as close to the time after the behavior that it refers to.


This feedback should be given often.  Parents need to tell ADHD children how they are faring in whatever activity they are involved in or how well they are conducting themselves at very short intervals. 

Feedback can be in the form of praise or compliments but should specify exactly what the child has done to earn it. It can also be in the form of physical affection like a hug, extra privileges or occasionally a food treat. 


ADHD children have reduced sensitivity to rewards and other consequences. Hence, larger and more important rewards are needed to motivate them to perform, follow rules or behave well.  Make the consequences powerful and worth avoiding or earning.


Dole out the positive comments before the negative ones.  Try not to make punishment the first step in suppressing undesirable behavior. They should attempt to glean some positive aspect from the child’s behavior and reward that aspect. Punishment when given should be mild and specific to a particular behavior.


Above all, be consistent.  As parents of a troubled child, it’s easy to give in more often than we should, but this is the exact time when we can’t do so.  Parents should strive to react in the same manner over a period of time to the child’s behavior whenever it occurs.


In addition, they will need to be persistent when dealing with a ADHD child, as they are not exactly the most obedient kind. Even if parents feel that their efforts are going to waste, they need to stick to the disciplinary program or they will not see the fruits of their hard work.


Respond in the same way whether it be at home, at school, or anywhere else.  Parents of ADHD children often tend to respond to the same behavior differently at home and in public. They must avoid this as it puts a spoke in all the wheel of all their disciplinary efforts. The ADHD child needs to know that the rules and consequences expected to occur at home will also apply away from home.


Do not in any way contradict another parent or authority figure when the child can observe this behavior.  Cohesiveness is important.  If the child knows that they have one person who they can go to who will let the rules slide, they win.  ADHD kids need consistency.  If you undermine each other’s behavior, you are taking steps back and not helping your child at all.


You must be equipped to handle problem situations.  ADHD children can be difficult and disruptive in the most public of places and parents tend to get caught on the wrong foot every time. Most parents can anticipate a problem situation. What they have to do is devise a strategy to deal with it in advance so that they are prepared when it happens. They will need to make all the rules clear to their children in advance too. Thus, when the problem occurs, both parent and child know the routine.


Make sure you have everything in perspective.  Well, maybe not everything.  That might be impossible, but you at least have to have perspective when it comes to your child and his or her illness.


Dealing with an ADHD child is no joke. Parents of such children often find that they are frustrated, enraged, and embarrassed. However, they must remember at all times that they are the adults and cannot afford to lose control. If both parent and child were to lose their cool, the situation would deteriorate rapidly. In any case, ADHD children are victims of a disorder and often cannot help the way they behave.


Make lists.  Seriously – as many lists as you can.  And teach your child to do the same.  These lists should include tasks that need completed, dates to be remembered, and activities that need to be attended.


Provide them with a reward for completing their tasks, checking things off their lists, and remembering important dates.  Keep in mind that these kids tend to brush off anything and everything in favor of whatever is in front of them at the time.  When they are able to complete tasks and remember important dates, they will eventually modify their behavior to make it commonplace.


These kids have excess energy.  It’s a fact.  It is for that very reason that you need to provide some type of outlet for this energy.  Encourage your child to participate in a hobby or activity that allows them to blow off the steam that naturally occurs in their body.


Accept their limitations.  This could be one of the most important coping strategies we can mention.  Whether you like it or not, your child has limitations.  An ADHD child is never going to be a model child. So don’t hit your head against a brick wall trying to make him one. Try to see the virtues in your child and help him make the most of them. 


Remember that you are the expert on your child.  ADHD is just one of those controversial subjects that everybody and his brother has an opinion on.  Tune out what’s uninformed. Trusting your instincts and keeping open communication with your child about how he’s doing and really being observant is invaluable because you’re really a case manager.


Stay away from labeling.  Remember that you have to look at the whole child – he’s got his own temperament, his own talents and interests.  It’s easy to let the label overshadow everything.


And beware, too, of lumping in other problems that often occur in children with ADHD – including depression, anxiety and learning difficulties – under the single diagnosis of ADHD.

Experts are getting better at understanding the differences between learning disabilities and ADHD.  Sometimes they can overlap and that can be tricky and complicated to dissect.

ADHD is different for every child.  It’s important to understand which problems are truly part of ADHD and which are not, so that each problem can be dealt with appropriately.

Above all, try your very best to stay calm when dealing with an ADHD child.  It’s easy to lose your cool when the child is out of control.  Speak slowly and precisely.  Show them that even though you are frustrated, you are still able to stay in control.  Try to talk to them about your feelings and how you are trying to cope with your own frustration.


Often, children learn by watching.  When you talk to them and bring them into your mindset, you could very well be teaching them the tools they need to control their own frustration.


They don’t mean to do damage and are upset when they hurt people or break things, but they’ll still do exactly the same thing next time round!

        ADHD children are untidy and disorganized, which will irritate people who like tidy houses and regimented behavior.

        They can be unpopular with other children, teachers, friends and even family members. This can cause problems with both family and friends.

Parents can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with their child’s behavior.  They may avoid social situations in the hope of avoiding problem behavior and then start to feel isolated.

Friends, relatives and neighbors may feel entitled to comment and give negative judgments, which can strain relationships.

Your child may hurt other family members or damage their belongings, to the point where relationships are very strained. Your child can feel like a scapegoat and may start ignoring what he feels is constant nagging from you.


There's also a danger of spending so much time on your child that you don’t spend any time on your relationship as a couple.


Use routines and give clear rules: explain how you expect your child to behave in situations and teach him what to do when he feels he’s heading for trouble.

1.      Watch for trigger behaviors and step in to avert the problem before it starts.

2.      Negotiate rules with older children.

3.      Criticize the behavior, not the child. Instead of: ‘You’re so spaced-out, it drives me crazy,’ say ‘It makes me unhappy when you forget things.'

4.      Get everyone to cool off. Don’t escalate arguments or inflame them.

5.      When boundaries are broken, make other family members realize it isn’t personal.

6.      Try to stay positive. Avoid sounding disappointed in your child, which will lead to low self-esteem, and praise, praise, praise good behavior - for siblings, too.

7.      Make sure relatives and friends understand it’s important for your child to feel accepted by them. Older relatives may have less patience with a busy child, in which case it can help to make visits short and sweet.



Parenting a child with ADHD has more pitfalls than parenting the average child.

       You'll need to experiment to find out what works best for your child.


       Just as good habits can be learnt, there are things that can increase the likelihood of misbehavior.  They include:

1.      Your experience as a child.

2.      Parents disagreeing on rules.

Lack of energy.
       Set up special times to spend with your child doing things you enjoy together and just playing.

Rules and boundaries are important because they help us get on with other people.


  For children with ADHD, it's better to praise the good behavior

Negotiate rules with older children so they'll have a say in what happens.

         When it comes to rules, you need to be consistent in your approach.

·          State the rule: homework before TV.

·          Remind your child of the rule when he challenges it, and what the consequences will be: homework first or no TV for the rest of the evening.

·          Enforce it: take the fuse out of the plug, if you have to!


Let your child make choices for themselves



Self-esteem is about self-value. It's not about being bigheaded or bragging. It is about how we see ourselves, our personal achievements and our sense of worth.  


Your child's self-esteem is shaped by:

·          how he/she thinks

·          what he/she expects of herself

·          how other people (family, friends, teachers) think and feel about him/her


All this means children with ADHD often feel badly about themselves. They might think they're stupid, naughty, bad or a failure. Not surprisingly, their self-esteem takes a battering and they find it hard to think anything positive or good about themselves.



  Birthday parties and social events are a natural part of growing up, but other parents may not want to invite a child who is known to have bad behavior. Again, this can lead to a child with ADHD being excluded.  Exclusion only adds to your child's negative feelings and reinforces the idea that she's naughty.

So how can you help your child with his or her self-esteem?

·          Praise and reward:

·          Love and trust:

·          Goals:

·          Sports and hobbies:

·          Focus on the positive:

Part of self-esteem has to do with criticism.  You have to teach your child the best way to deal with that criticism.


Tell them the following and then reinforce it:

1.          Listen to what's being said. Don't interrupt to contradict or make excuses.

2.          Agree with it, where possible.

3.          Ask questions if they are unsure about anything.

4.          Admit mistakes and apologize.

5.          Calmly disagree if it's unfair.  For example, they can politely say, 'I don't agree with you'.


Anger is a natural part of childhood.  Heck, it’s a natural part of adulthood.  But, an ADHD child has an especially difficult time dealing with and controlling anger.


Put simply, there are two parts to tackling any behavioral problem:

1.            Encouraging the behavior you want through rewards, praise,  or attention and

2.            Reducing the behavior you don't with clear, consistent rules and quick punishments.


Children with ADHD thrive on consistency and routines, so to improve the chances of good behavior, let them keep to their routine, such as getting up, eating or leaving for school at the same time each day.


The most effective way of enforcing rules is to decide on them together with your child - so agree in advance things such as bedtimes, how long friends can come over and play for, etc.

       Where possible, make sure you give your child a good reason for the behavior you want. For example, tidying up your room will mean you'll find things more easily.

·          Get your child's attention. Address him/her by name and speak clearly.

·          Keep commands short and simple.

·          Give quick punishments that can be enforced now.

It's not always possible to ignore bad behavior and focus on the good. Instant, mild punishments - sometimes called 'negative consequences' - can reduce aggressive and angry behavior.

        Bad behavior often decreases when it costs your child something. The three main costs are time, money and undesirable consequences.

        The main reasons a punishment fails are because it’s too severe, it’s given too late, or it’s inconsistent.

Punishments can take various forms. 

1.            Natural consequences

2.            Time-out

3.            Losing privileges

4.            Avoid punishments that have the potential to harm your child either physically or psychologically.  For example, keep from insulting your child publicly.

Be careful not to reward bad behavior.

When your child has calmed down and returned to his/her normal self, talk to him/her and be clear about what was wrong and what you'd like to see changed. 

       Over the next few days look out for signs that your child has listened to what you've said. If she has, tell her you're pleased she's listened and taken note.



Treatment of adults often includes rebuilding one’s self-image, and learning to express and deal with pent-up anger and guilt. Individual or family therapy, as well as support groups can be helpful, as can learning to say no,


First, restructure your life.


- Encourage loved ones to assist by give you extra reminders, while taking the ultimate responsibility.


- Lists should become your best friend. Make lists for everything – things to do, things to remember, things to forget.  You may want to utilize Post-It notes as they can be placed anywhere and can help you remember what it is you need to remember.


We feel we need to include a note here on lists.  When making a to-do list, don’t include things that you know you won’t be able to accomplish in a day.  For example, if you need to paint the shutters, don’t put “Paint the shutters” on your to-do list for Monday.  Instead write “Start painting the shutters”.


People with ADHD tend to get overwhelmed quite easily and having too much on a list can cause you to procrastinate and not do the tasks at all.  Take great joy in crossing something off of your daily list!


- Pace yourself


- Your work space should be of sufficient space but free of excess distractions


- Experiment with background sound to cover other distractions


- Always have a specific plan. You should budget in some specific time for distractions. In other words, allow yourself to procrastinate.


- Try to master distractions. If you can’t see a reason to do something, don’t do it, unless it is a responsibility that cannot be shunned. Pay someone, trade off with a spouse–there has to be an inner willingness or distraction will likely be a problem.


Second, learn to negotiate.


- Get your temper under control. Never try to make a deal or compromise when your temper is active. Don’t blame others. Your reactions to what anyone does are still your responsibility.  Identify the underlying anger and use words to express it.


- Learn not to blame. Remember that it doesn’t matter WHY something happened. But it does matter WHAT happened. Come up with a plan to solve the problem rather than worrying how the problem got there. Be specific. Set the plan in motion, and stick to it.


Third, don’t forget to focus on your relationship with your spouse or significant other.


- Guard against co-dependent behaviors. In codependency, we focus attention on each other rather than taking responsibility for ourselves. A person with ADHD often blames others for problems, and significant others often end up taking responsibility.


- A partner can help break a task down, or facilitate communication with direct questions.




Perhaps the most difficult place to cope with an ADHD child is at school.  The next section can be used by educators or by parents who would like to make suggestions to their child’s teacher.

Aside from an IEP, what else can you do in the classroom?  These children are very easily distracted, and the classroom is the worst place for them since there can be so much going on all at the same time.  Consider your seating plan.

·          Move your ADD ADHD student's desk to where there are fewer distractions, close to the teacher to monitor and encourage, or near a well-focused child.

·          It is usually better to use rows for seating arrangement and to try to avoid tables with groups of students. Often the groups are too distracting for the ADHD child.

·          In the ideal setting, provide tables for specific group projects, and traditional rows for independent work. Of course, we are rarely in an ideal setting.

·          Every once in a while, try arranging desks in a horseshoe shape to allow for appropriate discussion while permitting independent work.

·          Your ADD ADHD student's desk should be near the teacher (for prompting and redirection), away from other challenging students, and not touching others' desks.

However, if you notice that your attention deficit student looks around a lot to see where noises are coming from, because he is very auditorily distractible, he may benefit from being seated near the rear of the classroom.

·          Experiment with seat location in the front of the classroom (near the board) and instructional area if your student is more visually distracted.

·          It is important for the teacher to be able to move about the entire room and to have access to all students. Practice "Management by Walking Around" in the classroom. The more personal interaction, the better.

·          Have all of the distractible ADD ADHD students seated nearest to place in the class where you will give directions or lectures. At least as close as possible without being punitive.

·          To minimize distractions, seat the ADD ADHD student away from both the hallway and windows.

·          Keep a portion of the room free of obvious visual and auditory distractions. Have at least a part of the room free from bright, loud, or distracting objects.

·          Use desk dividers and/or study carrels carefully. Make sure they are used as a "study area option" rather than as a punishment.

·          Seat those really smart and quiet girls next to the ADHD child.

·          Stand near the attention deficit student when giving directions or presenting the lesson.


Right from day one, make the classroom rules clear and post them where they are visible every moment of every day.  Be sure all students know the consequences for violating the rules and be consistent.


There are certain times of the day when extra concentration will be necessary.  It may help to post a daily schedule showing what will be studied and when for the children to refer to.  This also reinforces the routine of school and allows the child to know what to expect from one moment to the next.


When you give assignments to the ADHD child, break them up into small, manageable pieces.  By doing this, you are acknowledging that their attention span is a hindrance to them and they can complete the smaller parts of an assignment without losing their train of thought.


It might also help to provide these kids with step-by-step instructions on how to complete an assignment.  Give them a checklist that allows them to cross off a step once they complete it.  This will give them a sense of success also which is good for all students!


When presenting a lesson, there are also some things you can do to minimize distraction and help the ADHD student gain as much as possible from your instruction.

·          Provide an outline to ADHD students with key concepts or vocabulary prior to lesson presentation.

·          ADHD kids are easily bored, even by you. Try to increase the pace of lesson presentation. Include a variety of activities during each lesson appropriate to elementary school.

·          Use multi-sensory presentations, but be careful with audio-visual aids to be sure that distractions are kept to a minimum. For example, be sure interesting pictures and or sounds relate directly to the material to be learned.

·          Make lessons brief or break longer presentations into discrete segments.

·          Actively involve the attention deficit student during the lesson presentation. Have the elementary school age ADHD student be the instructional aid who is to write key words or ideas on the board.

·          Encourage the ADD ADHD students to develop mental images of the concepts or information being presented. Ask them about their images to be sure they are visualizing the key material to be learned.

·          Allow your elementary school students to make frequent responses throughout the lesson by using choral responding, frequently calling on many individuals, having the class respond with hand signals.

·          Try role-playing activities to act out key concepts, historical events, etc. I have taught ADD ADHD students the history of the Revolutionary War in the parking lot of the school, using cars, trees, and other objects to represent events and places in history. This can work well.

·          Be creative! Yes, it is possible for even you to bore a student. Work at teaching, motivating, and entertaining. The more exciting a subject is to a child, the better he will learn. Be excited about what you are teaching!

·          Your attention deficit student will respond better to situations that he finds stimulating and engaging. Varying the instructional medium and pace will help sustain his interest.

·          Your ADD ADHD elementary school aged student would probably find lessons that emphasize "hands-on" activities highly engaging.

·          Keeping the time required for sustained attention on task balanced with more active learning will improve his performance.

·          Use cooperative learning activities, particularly those that assign each child in a group a specific role or piece of information that must be shared with the group.

·          Develop learning stations and clear signals and procedures for how students transition from one center to another.

·          Use game-like activities, such as "dictionary scavenger hunts," to teach appropriate use of reference/resource materials.

·          Interact frequently (verbally and physically) with your attention deficit student. Use the ADD ADHD student's name in your lesson presentation. Write personal notes to the student about key elements of the lesson.

·          Pair students to check work.

·          Provide peer tutoring to help ADD ADHD student's review concepts. Let ADHD students share recently learned concepts with struggling peer.

ADHD students have a horrible problem with organization.  Even when they are shown how to become more organized, the whole concept still seems quite foreign to them.  Try a couple of these ideas:

·          Use dividers and folders in his desk so he can easily find things.

·          Model an organized classroom and model the strategies you use to cope with disorganization.

·          Show that you value organization by following 5 minutes each day for the children to organize their desks, folders, etc.

·          Reinforce organization by having a "desk fairy" that gives a daily award for the most organized row of desks.

·          Develop a clear system for keeping track of completed and uncompleted work such as having individual hanging files in which each child can place completed work and a special folder for uncompleted work.

·          Develop a color coding method for your room in which each subject is associated with a certain color.

·          It’s not difficult to spot the ADHD child in a classroom.  Likewise, the backpack becomes less of a way to transport homework and important papers and more of a place to stash anything and everything.

You must check to make sure that they are actually turning in their work. It is strange but true. They have probably done the homework, but just are not paying attention when you ask them to turn it in.

·          You may also want to try getting a large manila envelope – as large as you can find. Try the kind of envelope that businesses use to use to deliver documents from one department to another with a signature section printed right on the front.

Duct-tape the folder to the child's backpack. Tell your child's teacher that you will insert the homework, and then sign the folder. Have the teacher remove the homework and sign the receipt.

Minimize opportunities for your child to lose the homework. You have invested too much time in getting the homework done to let your child lose it now.

·          An organizing time at the end of each day can be helpful to gather the necessary materials for the assignments and develop a plan of action for completion. This will greatly aid the development of the "executive processes".

Many times the social aspect of school can be of particularly great concern for the ADHD student.  Peers view these kids as weird and have problems coping with their erratic behaviors.  The other kids will often exclude the ADHD child which can cause some real problems with self-esteem.  What can you do to enhance social skills at school?

·          Provide a safe environment for the child with ADD ADHD. Make sure the child knows you are his friend and you are there to help him.

·          Treat him with respect. Never belittle him in front of his peers. Both he and the other children know that he stands out, and if the teacher belittles the child, then the rest of the children will see that as permission from the teacher to belittle the child as well. Children can be cruel.

·          Students with attention deficit disorder can experience many difficulties in the social area, especially with peer relationships. They tend to have trouble picking up social cues, they act impulsively, have limited self-awareness of their effect on others, display delayed role-taking ability, and over-personalize other's actions as being criticism, and tend not to recognize positive feedback.

·          ADD ADHD students tend to play better with younger or older children when their roles are clearly defined.

·          These attention deficit students tend to repeat self-defeating social behavior patterns and not learn from experience.

·          Conversationally, they may ramble and say embarrassing things to peers.

·          Areas and time-periods with less structure and less supervision, such as the playground and class parties, can be a problem. Students with good social awareness and who like to be helpful can be paired with the ADD ADHD child to help. This pairing can take the form of being a "study buddy", doing activities/projects, or playing on the playground.

·          Cross-age tutoring with older or younger students can also have social benefits. Most successful pairing is done with adequate preparation of the paired student, planning meetings with the pair to set expectations, and with parental permission. Pairing expectations and time-commitments should be fairly limited in scope to increase the opportunity for success and lessen the constraints on the paired students.

Many Attention Deficit students lack friends to be with outside of the school-setting. It can be beneficial to strategize with your ADD ADHD student and his parent on developing a "friendship plan" for the home setting.


Introducing Lessons: Students with ADD learn best with a carefully structured academic lesson—one where the teacher explains what he or she wants children to learn in the current lesson and places these skills and knowledge in the context of previous lessons. Effective school teachers preview their expectations about what students will learn and how they should behave during the lesson. A number of teaching-related practices have been found especially useful in facilitating this process:

·         Provide an advance organizer: Prepare students for the day’s school lesson by quickly summarizing the order of various activities planned. Explain, for example, that a review of the previous lesson will be followed by new information and that both group and independent work will be expected.

·         Review previous school lessons: Review information about previous lessons on this topic. For example, remind children that yesterday’s lesson focused on learning how to regroup in subtraction. Review several problems before describing the current lesson.

·         Set learning expectations: State what students are expected to learn during the lesson. For example, explain to students that a language arts lesson will involve reading a story about Paul Bunyan and identifying new vocabulary words in the story.

·         Set behavioral expectations: Describe how students are expected to behave during the lesson. For example, tell children that they may talk quietly to their neighbors as they do their work or they may raise their hands to get your attention.

·         State needed school materials: Identify all materials that the children will need during the lesson, rather than leaving them to figure out on their own the materials required. For example, specify that children need their journals and pencils for journal writing or their crayons, scissors, and colored paper for an art project.

·         Explain additional resources: Tell students how to obtain help in mastering the lesson. For example, refer children to a particular page in the textbook for guidance on completing a worksheet.

·         Simplify instructions, choices, and scheduling: The simpler the expectations communicated to an ADD school student, the more likely it is that he or she will comprehend and complete them in a timely and productive manner.


Concluding Lessons: Effective teachers conclude their lessons by providing advance warning that the lesson is about to end, checking the completed assignments of at least some of the students with ADD, and instructing students how to begin preparing for the next activity.

·         Provide advance warnings: Provide advance warning that a school lesson is about to end. Announce 5 or 10 minutes before the end of the lesson (particularly for seatwork and group projects) how much time remains. You may also want to tell students at the beginning of the lesson how much time they will have to complete it.

·         Check assignments: Check completed assignments for at least some students. Review what they have learned during the lesson to get a sense of how ready the class was for the lesson and how to plan the next lesson.

·         Preview the next lesson: Instruct students on how to begin preparing for the next lesson. For example, inform children that they need to put away their textbooks and come to the front of the room for a large-group spelling lesson.


Teaching the ADHD Child: Conducting Lessons

Teachers can help prepare the ADHD child to achieve by applying the principles of effective teaching when they introduce, conduct, and conclude each lesson during the school day. The following set of strategies to assist in conducting effective lessons when teaching the ADHD child:

·         Be predictable: Structure and consistency are very important when teaching the ADHD child. Many do not deal well with change. Minimal rules and minimal choices are best when teaching the ADHD child. They need to understand clearly what is expected of them, as well as the consequences for not adhering to expectations.

·         Support the student’s education participation in the classroom. Provide the ADHD child with private, discreet cues to stay on task and advance warning that they will be called upon shortly. Avoid bringing attention to differences between the ADHD child and their classmates. At all times, avoid the use of sarcasm and criticism when teaching the ADHD child.

·         Use audiovisual materials: Use a variety of audiovisual materials to present academic lessons. For example, use an overhead projector to demonstrate how to solve an addition problem requiring regrouping. The students can work on the problem at their desks while you manipulate counters on the projector screen.

·         Check student performance: Question individual students to assess their mastery of the lesson. For example, you can ask students to demonstrate how they arrived at the answer to a problem, or you can ask individual students to state, in their own words, how the main character felt at the end of the story.

·         Ask probing questions: Probe for the correct answer after allowing the ADHD child sufficient time to work out the answer to a question. Count at least 15 seconds before giving the answer or calling on another student. Ask followup questions that give children an opportunity to demonstrate what they know.

·         Perform ongoing student evaluation: Identify students who need additional assistance. Watch for signs of lack of comprehension, such as daydreaming or visual or verbal indications of frustration. Provide these children with extra explanations, or ask another student to serve as a peer tutor for the lesson.

·         Help students correct their own mistakes: Describe how students can identify and correct their own mistakes. For example, remind students that they should check their calculations in math problems and reiterate how they can check their calculations; remind students of particularly difficult spelling rules and how students can watch out for easy-to-make errors.

·         Help students focus: When teaching, remind the ADHD child to keep working and to focus on the assigned task. For example, you can provide follow-up directions or assign learning partners. These practices can be directed at individual children or at the entire class.

·         Follow-up directions: Effective teachers of children with ADHD also guide them with follow-up directions:

·         Oral directions: After giving directions to the class as a whole, provide additional oral directions for a child with ADHD. For example, ask the child if he or she understood the directions and repeat the directions together.

·         Written directions: When teaching the ADHD child, provide follow-up directions in writing. For example, write the page number for an assignment on the chalkboard and remind the child to look at the chalkboard if he or she forgets the assignment.

·         Lower noise level: Monitor the noise level in the classroom, and provide corrective feedback, as needed when teaching the ADHD child. If the noise level exceeds the level appropriate for the type of lesson, remind all students—or individual students—about the behavioral rules stated at the beginning of the lesson.

·         Divide work into smaller units: Break down assignments into smaller, less complex tasks. For example, allow students to complete five math problems before presenting them with the remaining five problems.

·         Highlight key points: Highlight key words in the instructions on worksheets to help the ADHD child focus on the directions. Prepare the worksheet before the lesson begins, or underline key words as you and the child read the directions together. When reading, show children how to identify and highlight a key sentence, or have them write it on a separate piece of paper, before asking for a summary of the entire book. In math, show children how to underline the important facts and operations; in “Mary has two apples, and John has three,” underline “two,” “and,” and “three.”

·         Eliminate or reduce frequency of timed tests. Tests that are timed may not allow the ADHD child to demonstrate what they truly know due to their potential preoccupation with elapsed time. Allow the ADHD child more time to complete quizzes and tests in order to eliminate “test anxiety,” and provide them with other opportunities, methods, or test formats to demonstrate their knowledge.

·          Use cooperative learning strategies when teaching the ADHD child: Have students work together in small groups to maximize their own and each other’s learning. Use strategies such as Think-Pair-Share where teachers ask students to think about a topic, pair with a partner to discuss it, and share ideas with the group.

·         Use assistive technology: All students, and those with ADHD in particular, can benefit from the use of technology (such as computers and projector screens), which makes instruction more visual and allows students to participate actively



Math Computation: Numerous individualized instructional practices can help children with ADHD improve their basic computation skills. The following are just a few ADD education practices;

·         Patterns in math: Teach the student to recognize patterns when adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing whole numbers. (e.g., the digits of numbers which are multiples of 9 [18, 27, 36 . . . ] add up to 9).

·         Partnering for math activities: Pair a child with ADD with another student and provide opportunities for the partners to quiz each other about basic education computation skills.

·         Mastery of math symbols: If children do not understand the symbols used in math, they will not be able to do the work. For instance, do they understand that the “plus” in 1 + 3 means to add and that the “minus” in 5 – 3 means to take away?

·         Mnemonics for basic computation: Teach the child mnemonics that describe basic steps in computing whole numbers. For example, “Don't Miss Susie’s Boat” can be used to help the student recall the basic steps in long division (i.e., divide, multiply, subtract, and bring down).

·         Real-life examples of money skills: For ADD education, provide students with real-life opportunities to practice target money skills. For example, ask the child to calculate his or her change when paying for lunch in the school cafeteria, or set up a class store where children can practice calculating change.

·         Color coding arithmetic symbols: Color code basic arithmetic symbols, such as +, –, and =, to provide visual cues for children when they are computing whole numbers.

·         Calculators to check basic computation: Ask the ADD child to use a calculator to check addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.

·         Board games for basic computation: Ask the ADD child to play board games to practice adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers.

·         Computer games for basic computation: Schedule computer time for the ADD child to drill and practice basic computations, using appropriate games.

·          “Magic minute” drills. Have students perform a quick (60-second) drill every day to practice basic computation of math facts, and have children track their own performance.


Solving Math Word Problems: To help ADD children improve their education skill in solving word problems in mathematics, try the following;

·         Reread the problem: Teach the ADD student to read a word problem two times before beginning to compute the answer.

·         Clue words: Teach the ADD child clue words that identify which operation to use when solving word problems. For example, words such as “sum,” “total,” or “all together” may indicate an addition operation.

·         Guiding questions for word problems: Teach ADD students to ask guiding questions in solving word problems. For example: What is the question asked in the problem? What information do you need to figure out the answer? What operation should you use to compute the answer?

·         Real-life examples of word problems: Ask the student to create and solve word problems that provide practice with specific target operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. These problems can be based on recent, real-life events in the child’s life.

·         Calculators to check word problems: Ask the ADD student to use a calculator to check computations made in answering assigned word problems.