Teaching Strategies for Students With ADHD

teacher calling on student

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The term executive function describes the ability to plan and manage time and projects effectively. Most people with ADHD have significant deficits in executive function which, of course, makes school very difficult. 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 a mother of two grown sons and a daughter with ADHD.

The basic concept behind all these strategies is simple: make the learning process concrete and visual. Teachers can achieve this goal by following these suggestions for classroom work:

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 the 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.
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