Paying Attention
Paying Attention

For Parents

Find the best environment for doing homework-whether at the kitchen table or alone in his room. Experiment until you find what works.
Teach self-monitoring by helping your child become aware of which things distract her. With time and practice, she'll begin to recognize when her attention is drifting.
Play attention-boosting games. Many classic kids' games, like Simon Says and musical chairs, teach kids how to pay attention.

For Teachers

Keep ADD kids close to you-and away from doors or windows.
Kids learn in different ways, so vary your teaching styles and employ group and individual work-this will keep kids paying attention.
Try to redirect a student in a way that does not cause embarrassment. Ask the child a question you know he can answer, or pat him on the shoulder.
Transitions
Transitions

For Parents

Prepare kids for what's coming next: Explain where you're going, who will be there, what activities are planned, and how he should behave. Plan a way for him to signal you if he becomes overwhelmed.
Make a checklist your child can follow until a particular routine, like getting ready for school, becomes second nature. For younger kids, illustrate each step in the routine with a picture.
Estimate how much time your child needs each night for homework, dinner, and preparing for the next day. Then add another five to 10 minutes.

For Teachers

Use an analog clock to make it easier for students to track the passage of time.
Use a timer to signal that a transition is on the way. For example, tell students they have five minutes to finish their work, and set an alarm to signal when time is up.
Write the day's schedule on the blackboard, and erase items as they're completed. Provide advance notice of any changes to the usual routine.
At the end of class, allow ADD kids to leave a few minutes early (to give them more time and to enable them to avoid crowded hallways).
Homework
Homework

For Parents

Buy school supplies (pens, rulers, notebooks, and so on) in triplicate, so you have a set for home, backpack, and supply cabinet.
Enforce a consistent homework start time each night. Schedule a five-minute break for every 20 minutes of work-short, frequent breaks help kids recharge.
Pick a homework spot to be used on a regular basis. Be sure all tools, such as pencils, paper, and calculator, are available nearby.

For Teachers

Set aside time for students to copy homework assignments in their planners. Write the assignments on the board and read them aloud to reinforce the information.
Assign just the odd-numbered math problems. That way, a child can demonstrate what she has learned without being pushed too hard.
Use a homework assignment sheet that must be initialed by parents and you for oversight and support.
Organization
Organization

For Parents

Provide a place for everything. In your child's room, separate ongoing projects, finished work, and school and art supplies into labeled bins, folders, file cabinets, or an under-bed box.
Give your child a daily planner to keep track of deadlines, appointments, birthday parties, and so on. Each evening, go over the next day's schedule together.
Reserve a shelf or cabinet by the front door for items that your child takes to school every day. Hang a hook underneath for backpacks.

For Teachers

Periodically schedule a class clean-up, when students can de-clutter binders, backpacks, and desks.
If possible, provide the student with two sets of books-one for home and one for school-so there is less for kids to remember.
Color-code academic materials. Use green, for example, for all science notebooks, binders, folders, and textbook covers. Keep related classroom books and materials in bins of the same hue.
Following Directions
Following Directions

For Parents

Break down large jobs into smaller, single-step tasks. Give your child one instruction at a time, and ask him to report back to you when a step is complete. Then, provide the next step.
Be explicit about how your child is to behave. Instead of telling her to "be good" at the playground, instruct her to "wait in line for the slide, and don't push."
Issue instructions in the form of a command ("Please wash your hands"), not a question ("Will you wash your hands?").

For Teachers

Use a bell, chime, or gong to indicate you're about to give instructions. Establish eye contact, to be sure an ADHD student is listening, or walk over and gently tap her on the shoulder.
Each time you give an assignment, have three students repeat what you said. Then have the class say it in unison. This gives ADDers multiple opportunities to hear it-and follow it.
Use a daily report card. Each day, record whether academic and behavioral goals were met, and send it home with the child to show his parents.