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Setting up your classroom strategically is the first step you can take toward helping students in your class who have ADHD. Make sure that children with ADHD are seated near your desk (unless that will distract them) and away from all windows and doors of the classroom. In addition, seat students with ADHD far from any other obvious distractions, such as students who make excessive noise, class pets, or pencil sharpeners.
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Students with ADHD can often have difficulties organizing their materials and assignments and taking notes effectively. At the beginning of the year, work with these students to organize their binders and other school supplies. Suggest color coding as a good possibility for visual learners with ADHD, and make sure that students have a way to keep track of assignments and upcoming deadlines. Volunteer to check their notebooks and assignment lists periodically, but try to gradually wean them off of this type of supervision, if possible.
When giving a large assignment, try to break it into smaller tasks that have regular deadlines. If the rest of the class does not need these deadlines, sit down with your ADHD students and come up with a schedule that they think will work for them. To help students with ADHD take notes, consider giving out note-taking outlines to help them.
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The most helpful ADHD classroom strategies are those that help you to teach more effectively. Begin by introducing the lesson and what students can expect to learn. Vary your methods of instruction as much as possible, and include group work, interactive activities, or visual demonstrations if possible. Those methods will help students with ADHD stay on task and remain interested in the lesson. When you do use direct instruction, try to use props and visual aids as much as possible. In addition, try to establish eye contact with ADHD students often to keep them on task.
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Even with all of these ADHD classroom strategies in place, some students will need additional outlets in order to stay on task. Allow these students to stand in the back of the room and pace if they need to, as long as it does not disturb other students in the class. Allow them to take breaks as necessary, and consider using them as your “messenger” when you need something done outside of the classroom. In classrooms where these methods are not practical, allow ADHD students to use stress balls or other small motor activities to keep their hands moving, even when their bodies are still. These physical activities can help them by giving them an outlet for their excess energy.
Many of these ADHD classroom strategies can help other students in your class, including those with various disabilities. Take a look at this article, also on Bright Hub Education, which discusses how some of these strategies can be helpful for a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).