Strategies for Teaching ADHD Learners


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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of children worldwide. It primarily impacts a child's ability to focus, control impulses, and manage hyperactivity. While ADHD can present challenges in the classroom,  understanding its signs and implementing supportive strategies can make a big difference in a learner's success.



ADHD can manifest in learners in a variety of ways, but some common signs include:


  • Difficulty staying focused on tasks or following instructions.

  • Frequently losing or misplacing materials and assignments.

  • Daydreaming or appearing disorganized.


  • Excessive fidgeting or restlessness, such as wriggling in their seat or tapping their hands or feet.

  • Difficulty remaining seated for extended periods.

  • Often being on the go or seeming to be driven by a motor.


  • Acting without thinking about consequences, such as blurting out answers or interrupting others.

  • Difficulty waiting their turn or taking turns during group activities.

  • Making hasty decisions without considering the full implications.

It's important to remember that ADHD can present differently in each child. Some learners may be predominantly inattentive, while others may exhibit a combination of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.



  • Create a Structured Environment: 

Establishing clear routines and predictable schedules helps learners with ADHD know what to expect and reduces anxiety. Provide clear routines and expectations. Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Utilize visual aids like charts and schedules. For example, you can create a visual timetable displayed prominently in the classroom that outlines the daily schedule, including subjects, break times, and transitions.

  • Provide Clear Instructions:

Clear and concise instructions are essential for learners with ADHD to understand tasks effectively. Break down instructions into smaller steps. Rephrase or re-explain information as needed. Provide examples. For instance, if assigning a writing task, you can say, "First, brainstorm your ideas, then create an outline, and finally, write your essay. Use the graphic organizer provided to plan your essay."

  • Offer Frequent Breaks:

Learners with ADHD may struggle to maintain focus for extended periods, so incorporating frequent breaks is beneficial. For example, after 20-30 minutes of seated work, you can allow a five-minute movement break where learners can stretch, do a quick exercise, or take a short walk around the classroom. Also consider incorporating movement activities into lessons.

  • Implement Behaviour Management Strategies:

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for encouraging desired behaviours. Acknowledge and praise desired behaviours. Use a reward system to motivate learners. For instance, if a learner with ADHD completes their work quietly and independently, you can praise them with specific feedback like, "I noticed how focused you were during the assignment. Well done!"

  • Encourage Organization and Time Management:

Teaching organizational skills is crucial for learners with ADHD. Provide practical tools such as planners or checklists and teach them how to use these tools effectively. For example, you can introduce a weekly planner and show learners how to write down assignments, due dates, and extracurricular activities.

  • Promote Self-Regulation Techniques:

Teaching self-regulation techniques empowers learners with ADHD to manage their emotions and behaviours. For instance, you can introduce deep breathing exercises or guided imagery sessions at the beginning of the day or before challenging tasks. Encourage learners to practice these techniques independently when they feel stressed or overwhelmed.

  • Open Communication:

Collaborate with parents and healthcare professionals to understand a learner's specific needs and develop a comprehensive support plan.


By recognizing the signs of ADHD and implementing these strategies, teachers can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for learners with ADHD. This allows them to thrive and reach their full potential.


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