Grant is sitting on his leg and tapping his pencil. As his mom observes the class, she notices that many of the other children are already turning in their work. Grant doesn’t even have one word written on the page. When the student sitting next to him complains about the tapping, the teacher kindly asks Grant to stop. He is quiet for a minute, but then begins hitting his shoe on the leg of the chair. The teacher recently reported that the number of incomplete assignments has placed Grant at risk for not passing 5th grade. Grant suffers from ADHD.

Students with ADHD in the classroom CAN have successful learning experiences once their specific symptoms are matched up to the right accommodations. Parents can work together with teachers to correctly identify the ADHD symptoms most affecting the student and then help to implement the accommodations that are most likely to reap positive results.

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity are common symptoms of ADHD that often appear together. These students with ADHD in the classroom can often be seen distracting other students when it is quiet work time. They might be walking around the room, drumming with their pencil or chatting with a friend. They can be seen interrupting class or not waiting to be called on to give the answer. Conflict seems to follow them because taking turns and managing emotions are complicated by their ADHD.

A second set of ADHD symptoms focus on the issue of inattention. These students with ADHD in the classroom find it hard to stay focused on their work for long periods of time. They are easily distracted by noises made by other students, a car pulling up outside the window or the grumbling of their stomachs as lunch approaches. These students find long directions cumbersome and frequently miss one of the steps. They often make careless errors in their work and may not complete an assignment due to a lack of focus, forgetting the necessary materials or not remembering that the particular homework needs to be turned in.

Some children with ADHD experience both of these sets of symptoms. For these students, a combination of the following suggestions can be helpful.

Tips for students with hyperactivity and impulsivity:

1. Work with teachers to create an individualized behavior chart for students with ADHD in the classroom. Start by choosing the one behavior that most frequently complicates learning in the classroom. Tape a colorful reminder to the desk.
2. Ask the teacher for permission for students to stand and do the work.
3. Teach children with ADHD to regain focus using the following exercise: Ask your child to stand up and lift his right knee and touch it with the left hand. Then switch and lift the left knee and touch it with the right hand. Do this 10 times and then repeat for another ten. Create a secret signal that students can use to indicate that they need to go out in the hall and do their exercise.

Tips for students experiencing issues with inattention:

1. Divide homework assignments into smaller chunks.
2. Talk with the student and to find a place in the classroom that is the least distracting. Try a place away from the door, the pencil sharpener, classroom pets and windows.
3. Explain to the teacher that children with ADHD often experience difficulty with complex or long directions. Ask teachers to limit the number of steps when giving directions and propose writing the directions on the board as a reminder.
4. Create a homework chart to help students with ADHD in the classroom. This helps them remember what homework exists and what materials need to be brought home to accomplish the task. Often in the beginning, it is helpful to ask the teacher sign off that the information is correct.

For Best Results:

1. Choose only one or two issues to work on at a time.
2. Make an effort to catch children with ADHD succeeding and communicate these observations in the moment. Students tend to repeat the actions the adults comment on. So, try communicating your observations about the positive behaviors, and you will bring forth more positive conduct.
3. Offer to help the teacher implement the suggestions by providing the homework chart and practicing the accommodation at home.
4. Check in with the teacher and student after a few days to see if the plan is making a positive impact.
5. Maintain consistent communication with the teacher to keep a pulse on the progress children with ADHD are achieving.

Author's Bio: 

For more help with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, visit and fill out the checklist specially designed to help you do an initial assessment of your child’s learning problems. Your child CAN have a positive classroom experience this year. Be sure to check out our educational videos about ADD Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.