Pin Me

Helping a Child with ADHD to Fit In

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

Teaching a child with ADHD isn't always the easiest task. It's even harder when their disorder stands out and they become more stressed. Read the information below to teach this child how to not only survive in a classroom, but to become an integral part of it.

  • slide 1 of 1

    Social Issues

    Children with ADHD often have social issues as well. It's not that they are unfriendly children. It's the impulsiveness that seems to permeate their every move. This impulsivity can make teaching a child with ADHD quite the challenge until you find the key. There are several way to find the key in dealing with these children. The idea is actually to help them find it so that they can limit their social struggles and be proud of who they are rather then embarrassed or even living with a low self esteem.

    Another issue is that children can be cruel with their honesty and may say things that are hurtful. It's not that they necessarily intend to hurt anyone's feeling. It's just that they might sometimes say the first thing that pops into their minds. This is especially true for those with ADHD, so being around children that have that problem already isn't helpful to them. It is however, helpful to you as the teacher. This is some common ground that most students share. As such ,it can be addressed as a group issue rather than focusing on a negative aspect of one child. Use some of the suggestions below to help your entire class so that you can focus on academics after resolving some social issues.

    Keep in mind that though this article primarily focuses on teaching a child with ADHD, the activities are group ones for reasons of helping out the entire group and offering some coping skills and assistance to the child with ADHD without actually singling them out.

    Beach Ball Social Circle

    This is very simple to do. Write questions or instructions on a beach ball. The students pass the ball from one to another and answer whatever question their right thumb lands on or follows the instructions. For questions that are designed to build self esteem, use some of the following suggestions below.

    • Compliment the person on your right.
    • What are you best at?
    • What do you like most about the person on your left?
    • What would you like to learn more about?
    • What is your favorite hobby?
    • What could you do differently to make yourself feel better when you get upset?

    For teaching social skills, humility and tolerance, use the suggestions below.

    • What is something you would like to be better at and how could you do this?
    • Think of a time when you hurt someone's feelings. What could you have done differently?
    • How do you think people see you? How is this different from how you really are?
    • Ask the person on your left to tell you about an embarrassing moment.
    • Ask the person on your right to name 2 things they do that makes them feel better when they are upset.


    Labels can be extremely dangerous. Often, students that have ADHD are labeled by others and sadly enough even by teachers sometimes as "that ADHD kid" or something similar. The child has more facets than just ADHD. This activity will demonstrate how labels can impact the way people treat each other. Sometimes these labels are based on things we have no control over. Use the activity below to teach students about the impact of labels.

    Assign each student a number by passing out small sheets of paper with numbers on them as well as writing the numbers down with the names on a list. Students should memorize the number, but not tell anyone else in the class what their number is. Ask each student to think of one word to describe themselves. Have the students write the word on a sheet of paper. Ask the students to flip the paper over and write their number on the back.

    Now collect the papers. Mix the papers up. Put them in a pile on your table and ask students to each come up and get a paper and a piece of tape. Students should return the paper and get a new one if they happen to pick their own. Ask students to tape the paper to their chest so everyone can see it and stand in a circle. Go around the circle and ask each person what the word on the paper means to them. Pretend you are building s group. Ask the students to vote on whether someone that is labeled as the word on the paper should be allowed to stay in the group. If not, the student is removed from the group for two rounds. Then, show the removed student who the word was written by. The student who was removed must come up with a better word for that person without mentioning to the rest of the class who it is. The student can then rejoin the group as long as the group finds the word appropriate.