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  • Lori Melnitsky

Helping a child with ADHD/ADD feel successful in school and life…

School and life can be a challenge for people with ADHD/ADD. It’s difficult to focus and learn but there are ways that you can help them if you are a teacher or parent.

One of the best things is being compassionate and allowing imperfection. It is about seeing their strengths beyond the classroom. It is about listening to their words and message. It is about being positive and encouraging.

1. Create Positive Outcomes with Powerful Words:

You should work closely with a students to develop a positive outcomes. Children with ADHD/ADD often have problems with thinking about future success. It is a challenge for them to see beyond the moment. These are some ideas that might help.

Use positive words, ie: I see you are trying hard, I hear you.  Also implementing a notebook with goals for the day with multiple checkpoints like get up and start another task within a few minutes of being told. When they’ve met a certain amount of goals for the week, something rewarding can be provided. It gives them something to focus on and look forward to.

2. Focus on Planning and Organization

A lot of children with ADHD have problems with basic organization which can cause them to not judge the time they have left to work on a project very well. This can lead to them to not turning in assignments on time. If this is an issue it is time to find a plan that might help change this. This is where accommodations to homework can help.

3. Reduce the Amount of Homework

Speaking of assignments, homework is a huge struggle for children with ADHD. If you pile it on during the week or weekend,you are setting them up for failure. Let them move and take frequent breaks.

4. Have Realistic Expectations of the Child

Again, you can’t hold a child with ADHD to the same standards you would hold children without. The more stressed these children feel towards their academic lives, the worst they’re going to perform and the worse they will feel about themselves.

While it might seem ideal for every child to make straight As and Bs it’s not always realistic.  You have to have reasonable expectations for them instead of trying to mold them into what you think they should be.

5. Limit Distractions

As you probably know children with ADHD are very easily distracted. To help the child succeed, you’ll need to limit distractions.  Avoid doing homework with siblings or friends present.

6. Use Novelty to Engage Curiosity

If you notice attention fading, try something new. This could include changing the environment and putting on music. Basically allow movement and break the monotony. It is perfectly acceptable to move and not sit in one place.

7. Figure out changes with plans in advance…

Children with ADHD have problems transitioning. This is why it’s important that you don’t just spring sudden transitions on them.  Communicate with your child to make these changes easier and more palatable.

8. Read and review instructions first with your child…

It’s a good idea to simplify your instructions for children with ADHD. Give them their assignment instructions in small steps and clearly so they understand.

You can also give the assignments to them in fun and creative ways like through movement or games.

How to Help children and young adults with ADHD succeed…

A student with ADHD/ADD needs encouragement and support. Negativity will only hinder their progress.   You have to adjust your curriculum to get the information to them in fun and creative ways and allow them to do their work in a way in which will minimize distractions. Keep in mind that you can’t expect them to do their homework in the same way a child without ADHD would. Be compassionate and kind. Help them get out of high school without lowering their self esteem. They have strengths and deserved to be encouraged.

Using these ideas on how to help a child with ADHD will facilitate their success.

Children with ADHD/ADD or adults often need coaching or speech therapy, please email for more information.

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