A Teacher's To-Do List

Bring out the best in kids with attention deficit with these seven simple steps for educators.


Filed Under: For Teachers of ADHD Children, ADHD Accommodations, 504s, IEPs, School Behavior
Staff of smiling teachers with ADHD students

Know how much it matters to an ADHD student that you believe in her

— Sandra Rief, M.A.

1. Remember that inconsistency is a hallmark of ADHD. Sometimes the student can do the work; sometimes he can't.

2. Know how much it matters to an ADHD student that you believe in her and maintain high expectations.

3. Allow students to start the school year with a clean slate, ignoring any negative comments from students' previous teachers.

4. Expect that you will need to revamp, revise, and modify aspects of a behavioral plan — for example, use incentives, reinforcement, and a schedule — to maintain the interest and motivation of ADHD students.

5. Tell children what you want them to do ("Raise your hand and wait to be called on"), not what they shouldn't do ("Don't blurt out in class").

6. Notice and comment when an ADHD student acts appropriately. Don't focus undue attention on a child's misbehaviors.

7. Choose to make the adaptations and special arrangements it takes for students to succeed in the classroom. It is OK and fair to make accommodations/modifications for students with ADHD.

Adapted with permission from sandrarief.com, How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, Second Edition, copyright 2005, and The ADD/ADHD Checklist, Second Edition, copyright 2008, by SANDRA F. RIEF, M.A.

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This article appears in the Winter 2012 issue of ADDitude.
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