For Teachers

Listen Up!

Make sure students don’t miss a moment of instruction with these tips for drawing their focus.

Have students color key directions to improve listening skills
Have students color key directions to improve listening skills

It is frustrating for teachers and parents of children with ADHD to get a child to stop, listen, and comply with adult directions or commands. The following ideas will increase the chances that your students will hear you when you’re saying something important.

> Wait until it is quiet and you have students’ attention before giving instructions. Do not talk over students’ voices.

> Read written directions to the class and have students highlight or circle/underline key words in the directions.

> Train students to stop what they are doing and focus on the teacher when you give the signal — chimes, flickering lights, and so on.

> Be sure to face students when you give directions. You may need to walk over and physically cue certain students. Try to obtain eye contact and say the child’s name before speaking.

> Give concise, clear verbal directions. Speak in simple short sentences, avoiding unnecessary talk.

> Use a partner to clarify directions. Say, “Tell John what we are doing on page 247.”

Adapted with permission from, 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. Reif, M.A.