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Strategies for Students with ADHD

Child with ADHD working on classwork at Lydian Academy

If you are wondering how to help a child with ADHD, these tips and strategies can aid you in supporting a student that is having issues with focus and time management. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is one of the most common challenges young people face.

Parents struggle with outdated understandings and myths about ADHD. It is not caused by parenting style, although there are many ways for parents to support their child with a solid understanding of how it affects them. It does not limit intelligence or the ability to learn.

As many as 9.8% of children aged 3-17 have an ADHD diagnosis.1 Other children and adolescents may show ADHD symptoms and experience similar challenges without a diagnosis. These strategies for students with ADHD can help any young person who needs to develop the skills that control attention, emotions, and behavior.

How Do Attention Challenges Affect Students?

Students with ADHD or other attention challenges may be negatively described as inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. These are actually symptoms of the condition and are also comparisons with other students their age who may have an easier time learning the skills needed to focus their attention.

Behaviors that are normal for these students might cause disruption in a typical classroom environment. They can also be difficult for parents and caregivers to manage, but developing a good understanding of how these students learn can lessen the negativity and put them on a better path to academic and life success.

Because they have difficulty focusing when distracted, these students may seem to:

  • Not follow directions
  • Fail to meet deadlines
  • Be unable to stay on task
  • Test poorly

Because children with ADHD are naturally active and moving, they might:

  • Be unable to sit still for long periods of time
  • Fidget, tap, or express excess energy in other ways
  • Rush through assignments and tests, making avoidable mistakes
  • Grow more restless and less able to pay attention throughout the day

Because they have challenges developing the skills to control their impulses, they have a tendency to:

  • Interrupt frequently or blurt out inappropriate responses
  • Get frustrated with waiting, sharing, and taking turns
  • Lose their temper or have emotional outbursts
  • Repeat behaviors they know are against the rules

Strategies for Students With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Student with ADHD watching a teacher from Lydian academy teach a class

You can help your child with ADHD by adopting some proven teaching strategies that both support and motivate the student to achieve more.

Project Your Positive Attitude

Put your own focus on their successes and recognize their gains in all areas. Support their active pursuits like yoga, dance class, martial arts, or sports which can help them focus once they have exercised. Work on finding experiences that build on their talents and boost their self-esteem. Your positivity can be a driving force for helping them overcome negativity they might get elsewhere.

Provide Structure and Stability

Having a regular schedule of tasks helps students work on things in the right order and help with transitioning from one task or topic to another. Maintain that structure and engage your child about the need for changes before they happen. Making a visual calendar can help students who have challenges staying organized and remind your child to turn in completed work on time.

Build a Strong Relationship

Whether you are parenting or teaching a child with ADHD or attention challenges, the relationship you build is one of the most important influences. Make time and take time to talk to them and recognize their positive behaviors and traits. There’s no need to overpraise, but taking a quiet moment to let them know you recognize their efforts lets them know they are valued. These children often worry that they are letting people down, doing things wrong, or misbehaving even when they are doing none of those things. Help the child build resilience and self-esteem, and let them know they can count on you for support.

Have Clear Expectations and Outcomes

When managing a student’s behavioral challenges, first be clear and concrete about expectations. It might help the student if the ‘rules’ are clearly posted. When it comes to reinforcement, follow through on the stated consequences or rewards. Keep in mind that you are encouraging the student to build skills and seek methods that work for them, and engage with them about appropriate reward activities or agreed-upon consequences that will help them move toward more productive behaviors in the long term.

Encourage Activities That Strengthen Social Skills

Children with ADHD can stand out for the wrong reasons, or lose focus on the social cues happening around them. Their energy level and tendency to interrupt or finish other people’s thoughts can seem rude or aggressive. Learning to focus intentionally and gaining emotional awareness and maturity is an ongoing challenge for all young people. Offer your child the opportunity to have several different social circles, not all based on school, and actively talk to the student about how others might misinterpret their intentions.

Communicate Often With Educators and Caregivers

If your child has ADHD or other learning differences, they might behave differently at school than they do at home. Keeping lines of communication open and being engaged with their teachers will help you provide the best at-home support for your child. There are typical accommodations that most schools will offer for students with ADHD. Some schools have the ability to offer small class sizes or one-on-one instruction that minimizes distractions and moves at the pace of the student.

Students Focus Better When We Focus on Them

Students from Lydian Academy studying together

With the focused attention of a teacher who has no other students to distract them, most children with attention challenges can gain an awareness of how they learn best and what motivates them. In a one-to-one classroom, teachers have the ability to use the student’s preferred learning style and help reignite their love of learning and their self-esteem.

At Lydian Academy, we offer every student a one-to-one learning experience, through our virtual learning programs or in-person classes in Burlingame and Menlo Park, CA. We believe that unique learners can thrive in school with a learning plan and schedule that is customized for their needs.

For students with attention challenges, we can offer:

  • Segmented lessons and assignments to help students stay on task
  • Flexible class times to take advantage of optimal learning times
  • Learning tools that engage the student’s senses and offer audio, tactile, and visual feedback
  • Clear tracking of student progress and daily communication with parents
  • Testing at shorter intervals and in more engaging formats for a clearer picture of student knowledge

Learn more about how Lydian Academy engages neurodiverse students and unique learners and provides the focused support of a one-to-one middle and high school program designed to help students master the skills and curriculum that will set them up for success and self-fulfillment.

With rolling enrollment, there’s no need to wait to switch schools. Join us for a virtual open house or campus tour that will answer all your questions about one-to-one learning with Lydian Academy.



We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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