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Introducing Classroom Rules to Students with ADHD

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/11/2012

Looking for a way to introduce the rules for the year in the hopes of avoiding confusion? These back to school activities offer a great way to avoid confusion between parents, teachers and students for the entire year! For students with ADHD, planning ahead is valuable and needed.

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    Setting the Tone

    The goal of these back to school classroom activities is to lay the ground rules for the year. Many times students do better with things in writing, especially students who have disorders like ADHD or autism. Teachers must realize that the parents of students with ADHD are likely to be overprotective and you may be subject to hearing things like, "Well my son has (insert disorder here) and can't help it!" It's the job of educators and parents alike to teach students their academics while also teaching them about what is socially acceptable.

    When your students and teachers come into your classroom, you need to let them know that they are not only entering a welcoming atmosphere, but one that has rules and consequences. To ensure that students and parents are aware of these rules and consequences, move on to the next section and follow the instructions for this back to school activity.

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    Written Rules

    You may notice as you are talking to students with ADHD that they often have a hard time simply sitting and listening to what you are saying. This is one of the reasons that you are better off putting the rules and consequences in writing. Follow the instructions below to complete this back to school activity.

    • Write out a complete list of the rules and consequences for breaking the rules.
    • Write a letter to the parents of the students that welcomes them and explains the purpose of the written rules and consequences. In the letter, ask parents to verbally review the information with their children as they and their children read through it.
    • Create a sheet for the parents and students to sign that says that they have reviewed and agree to abide by the rules and consequences of your classroom.
    • Review the rules and consequences with your students. Then hand out the sheets for them to take home and review with their parents.
    • When the students have all returned their sheets that are signed, ask them to take out a sheet of paper and to make a list of the rules and consequences without looking at the list. This is done to avoid any confusion whatsoever and make sure they are prepared to follow the rules of the class. This can be used as their first "test" in the classroom and will not only let them know you are serious about the rules, but will also give them an idea of what to expect when it comes to testing.
    • Modify the test as needed. For instance, instead of simply having them write a list of the rules, present specific scenarios to them and ask them to write how the rules apply to that scenario. Have students answer by writing their answer in a sheet of paper that you can review later.

    The idea is to make sure the students are made aware of the rules and consequences by reviewing them in different formats. The signed letter should be kept in their file in case any disputes come up with parents or students later in the year.