Teaching Strategies For Kids With Adhd

As a teacher the chances are you can already point out the children that are going to be diagnosed with adhd at some point in the future, if they haven’t already. The children in your class that you just can’t get to stay seated if you paid them and lose attention extremely quickly, so quickly in fact that it’s difficult to get them to retain information. You’re aware that it’s not just a phase as it’s been going on for months while other students of the same age have learned the routine of the class environment and have settled down but it can still be frustrating when you have a class of around 30 but seem to spend the majority of time trying to engage the student or two showing adhd symptoms.


Just like most children those with adhd love praise, in fact they pride themselves on it. By partnering up in a positive way with the student and working together to find a way to complete tasks you will have an easier time than demanding from them. Using a sticker chart or points reward system is a good motivation to keep them on track with gentle reminders.

Dealing with negative behaviour

Of course you can’t reward bad behaviour, but the shouting over others to point out what they are doing wrong is not something that will work with an adhd child. Instead you should both have a warning signal which allows you to let the adhd child know their behaviour is not appropriate. This could be a specific hand signal or even a note if they are old enough to read. Try to ignore behaviour that’s not overly disruptive where possible especially if it is not intentionally to disrupt others. If you do have to speak to them further take them from the classroom so you can speak privately.


Minimise distractions for adhd students by keeping them from the windows and doors. Use rows so that the main focus is on you, not what is going on around them.

Task giving

When giving them a task only instruct one thing at a time. The reason for this is that the child is unlikely to retain long instructions. The best time of day for the most difficult tasks are when they arrive before their interest wanes. Teach them to make notes to look back on should they need them.

Separate seating

Have and area in the class the child can sit if they are feeling overwhelmed. Somewhere quiet away from distractions and stimulation. If you have upcoming tests allow the child to take the test in a way they can use a method that works best for them such as short quizzes or verbally. If work is not fully completed don’t disband it but give a part credit so they don’t feel like their hard work was in vain.

Eye contact

When giving instructions to a child with adhd keep eye contact to ensure they are taking it in and they are sure you are speaking to them. Address them by name to get their attention and make it clear what materials are needed for each task. For younger children you could use diagrams or colour coding.