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Teaching Strategies for Students With ADHD

Improving Student Success


Updated January 17, 2012

Teaching Strategies for Students With ADHD

Improve a student's success in the classroom with creative teaching strategies.

Photo © Microsoft
Executive function deficits can create challenges for students with ADHD. Luckily, there are creative interventions teachers can use to help improve a student’s success in the classroom. Below is a listing of several teaching accommodations that work well for students with ADHD. They were compiled by Chris Dendy, MS and reprinted with her permission. Ms. Dendy is a leading ADHD expert and author, a former teacher with more than 35 years experience, and mother of two grown sons and a daughter with ADHD.

General Teaching Strategies:

Make the Learning Process as Concrete and Visual as Possible

Written Expression
  • Dictate information to a “scribe” or parents.
  • Use graphic organizers to provide visual prompts.
  • Use “post-it” notes to brainstorm essay ideas.
  • Use a peer tutor.
  • Use paired learning (teacher explains problem, students make up their own examples, swap problems, and discuss answers).
  • Use mnemonics (memory tricks), such as acronyms or acrostics, e.g., HOMES to remember names of the Great Lakes.
  • Use “visual posting” of key information on strips of poster board.

Modify Teaching Methods

  • Use an overhead projector to demonstrate how to write an essay. (Parents may simply write on paper or a computer to model this skill.)
  • Use color to highlight important information.
  • Use graphic organizers to help students organize their thoughts.

Modify Assignments – Reduce Written Work

  • Shorten assignments.
  • Check time spent on homework, and reduce it if appropriate (when total homework takes longer than roughly 10 minutes per grade as recommended in a PTA/NEA Policy, e.g. 7th grader = 70 minutes).
  • Write answers only, not the questions (photocopy questions).

Modify Testing and Grading

  • Give extended time on tests.
  • Divide long-term projects into segments with separate due dates and grades.
  • Average two grades on essays -– one for content and one for grammar.

Modify Level of Support and Supervision

  • Appoint “row captains” to check to see that homework assignments are written down and later turned in to the teacher.
  • Increase the amount of supervision and monitoring for these students, if they are struggling.

Use Technology

  • Use a computer as often as possible.
  • Use software to help teach skills.

Additional Reading:
School Tips for ADHD Kids
Resource for Teachers
Back-to-School Tips
Homework Strategies
Special Education Services


Chris A. Zeigler Dendy and Alex Zeigler. A Bird’s-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD. Cherish the Children. 2007.

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