For Teachers

Rethinking Homework

Students with attention deficit don’t need easier work, but modifying how an assignment is given can help them get it done right — and turned in on time.

Shave off some homework requirements to accmmodate ADHD kids
Shave off some homework requirements to accmmodate ADHD kids

Homework time can be a nightmare in homes of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). What takes an average child 15 to 20 minutes to complete may take an ADD/ADHD child longer than an hour to finish. Here are seven ways teachers can be supportive, and build a good relationship between home and school in the process.

1. Allow students to e-mail homework to you, to avoid lost assignments.

2. Assign homework at the beginning of the period, when possible, rather than at the end.

3. Post homework assignments in a designated location of the classroom (in a corner of the board or on a chart stand, for example), in addition to explaining them.

4. Talk with other teachers on your team. Students who have several teachers are often assigned tests, large projects, and reading assignments at the same time in different classes. Be sensitive to scheduling. Stagger due dates when possible.

5. Be responsive to parents who are frustrated about getting their child to finish homework. Consider making adjustments — shorten the assignment or reduce the amount of writing required.

6. Communicate regularly with parents of students who are falling behind in homework. Do not wait until the student is so far behind that catching up is impossible.

7. Work with your school to set up supervised study halls, homework labs or clubs, tutorials, and other assistance for students who need it.

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.S.

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