Children with ADHD: Learning Techniques for School Success

Kids with ADHD face multiple challenges at school, but with patience, planning, and proper technique, children with ADHD can thrive just as well as their unaffected peers. As a parent facing a diagnosis of ADHD, implementing practical strategies for learning will help your child both inside and out of the classroom. With consistent support, these techniques can help your child meet learning challenges and experience success at school.

Sitting still, listening quietly, concentrating- these are among the most difficult tasks for a child with ADHD, and are the ones they’re often required to do all day long in a traditional classroom environment. You can help your child cope with the challenges school creates by providing them with effective support in the form of proactive learning strategies and ongoing communication with their teachers about their special needs.

ADD/ADHD impacts each child differently, so the manifestation of symptoms can look different from one child to the next in the classroom. The wide range of symptoms include: constant fidgeting, inability to concentrate, daydreaming, difficulty grasping and following rules, & speaking out of turn. As a parent, you can help your child with ADD/ADHD reduce any or all of these types of behaviors by choosing the appropriate strategies for tackling the problem. There are a variety of fairly straightforward approaches you and your child’s teacher can take to best manage the symptoms of ADD/ADHD—and put your child on the road to school success.

Learning techniques & tips to ensure your child’s success:

  1. Develop a clear-cut behavior plan: Kids with attention deficit disorder respond best to specific goals and daily positive reinforcement—as well as worthwhile rewards. Yes, you may have to hang a carrot on a stick to get your child to behave better in class. Create a plan that incorporates small rewards for small victories and larger rewards for bigger accomplishments. Be sure to spell out consequences for misbehavior, and address immediately when the child misbehaves.
  2. Address potential distractions: Students with ADD/ADHD may be so easily distracted by noises, passersby, or their own thoughts that they often miss vital classroom information. These children have trouble staying focused on tasks that require sustained mental effort. They may seem to be listening to you, but something gets in the way of their ability to retain the information.  Seating the child away from doors & windows is a good start, and allowing for breaks by dividing assignments into smaller segments will go a long ways toward ensuring that the child is able to remain focused on the task at hand.
  3. Control impulses: children with ADHD struggle with controlling their impulses, which often results in them speaking out of turn and interrupting the learning environment.  Incorporate specifics into their behavior plan (#1 above) about how to address their need to contribute, focusing on timing and how their contributions can be the most helpful and appropriate.
  4. Work with hyperactivity: develop strategies to utilize the abundance of energy children with ADHD tend to have, such as incorporating play and physical activities into lessons. Another effective technique to reduce the struggle for an energetic child is to provide them with a stress ball or small, unobtrusive toy to discreetly play with while seated.
  5. Get organized: establishing a folder for lesson topics and developing checklists and clear objectives will help the child focus on what needs to be done and what remains.
  6. Accelerated learning: take a cue from the competitive corporate world and use the behaviors that have traditionally been frowned upon to your advantage.  Accelerated learning methods integrate the senses by blending education and entertainment, making content meaningful and improving retention rate & performance.

Seeking help from a skilled therapist who has experience working with children with ADHD is a great way to make sure that your plans for your child’s education are on track with their needs. Make an appointment at Great Lakes Psychology Group to get your child started on the path to consistent, reliable results in school.

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