ADHD strategies to support

Parent/ Carers

Click here for additional information about strategies to help parents and carers to support children/ young people with ADHD/ ADD

Strategies to support

Classroom Management
Adult Approaches
Child Focused
Be Pro-active
Don’t Forget

Sensory strategies

Hair brushing
Hair cutting
Information for teachers
Sensory strategies

Schools and classroom managemnet

  • Seating plan – consider where the child is seated in the class- near the teacher with back to other children to limit distractions
  • Good role models – surround ADHD children with good role models, encourage peer tutoring and cooperative learning
  • Avoid distracting stimuli – if possible, seat away from noisy heaters, doors and windows
  • Prepare for transitions – children with ADHD do not handle change well- plan transitions carefully, changes to daily routines and physical environment
  • Plan in breaks – keep in mind that child can get easily frustrated- plan in breaks, stress relieving exercises, activities, time out/away

Accommodating students with ADHD
ADHD educational interventions and strategies
ADHD in the classroom
ADHD offer action plan
ADHD types
An ADHD child/young person’s Bill of Rights
Checklist of strategies
Exploring the exceptions and being solution focused


  • Maintain eye contact during verbal instructions. CAUTION – be wary of ASD-type kids that find sustained eye contact difficult and uncomfortable as this may link with conditions alongside ADHD
  • Directions clear and concise to avoid mis-understanding
  • Consistent daily instructions so that there is predictability in the day
  • Simply complex requests, chunk and break down give out in stages if necessary
  • Avoid multiple demands
  • Give appropriate time on tasks, more time may be needed
  • Modify tasks
  • Assess knowledge not attention span
  • Emphasise quality rather than quantity


  • Use note book – encourage the use of a note book for recording, doodling, communicating with parents. This is NOT a place to list misdemeanors
  • Use timer
  • Use fiddle toy
  • Use preferred tasks – follow a difficult task with a preferred task
  • Repeat instructions – get child to repeat instructions to ensure understanding
  • Ensure child can seek help – help the child feel comfortable seeking help when needed
  • Support friendships – friendships may be difficult to sustain, help them with this
  • Show interest – showing interest in what they are interested in helps develop the relationships

Be pro-active

  • Focus on particular problem times – use frameworks to observe and record behaviour so it can be analysed and support structure put in place to ease the difficult times.
  • Remember to observe and note when things are going well, focus on these as they are part of the answer/solutions to help the child – ask them what helps
  • Know in advance what to do, remain consistent in response, and share this with other classroom staff
  • Develop techniques with the child to help them listen and take on instruction, could include symbols, photographs and signs
  • Use scripts
  • A child with ADHD needs clearly specified rules, expectations and instructions with frequent and intermediate and consistent feedback on behaviour and redirection to task

Don’t forget

  • Keep in close contact with parents/carers and make sure you are sharing good news with the parents regularly
  • Provide legitimate opportunities to be physically active. Use strategies such as taking messages, running errands, brain gym to keep physical movement and use fiddle toys, Blu-Tac, sponge toys, textured cushions, etc.
  • Beware of changes in routine and try to limit them Prepare for changes before hand if possible
  • Help improve self esteem
  • Be aware of teasing and bullying. Go out on the playground, clubs and after school activities, dining hall and make sure you know what’s going on and how their friendships are developing
  • Acknowledge that end of terms can be difficult and chaotic


Self Monitoring/Management

• Teach self-monitoring skills
– Self-observation
– Self-assessment
– Self-reinforcement

Self-management consists of three elements:

  1. Setting targets – ideally these are set together with the young person.
  2. Self-recording – the young person is taught to identify and record their target behaviour.
  3. Self-reinforcement – the young person selects and administers positive consequences for themselves.

• Teach problem-solving skills

• Teach social skills/ emotional management/relaxation skills/conflict resolution

• Use peer support systems to develop natural friendships
– Buddy systems/mentoring
– Use of SEAL materials
– Circle of Friends (This originated in North America as one of a range of strategies to promote the inclusion into mainstream schools of students with disabilities and difficulties)

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