How ADHD Present In The Classroom

If you are a parent of a child with ADHD you are probably familiar with most of the traits associated with ADHD. But what happens when your child starts attending school? What will the challenges be once your child has to follow the rules and timetable of a more rigid environment? Here are some common traits teachers can look out for in the classroom and some practical exercises they can adopt to create an environment where everyone can be comfortable and thrive.


  • Has trouble staying focused. Easily distracted or gets bored with tasks before it is completed.
  • Squirms and fidgets a lot.
  • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions. Constantly loses things.
  • Acts without thinking and blurts out answers.
  • Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games.
  • Often interrupts others.
  • Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in outbursts of anger or temper tantrums.
  • Has difficulty understanding concepts of sequence, time, order and cause and effect.
  • Can very often be the outcast of a group or very often end up in the Principal’s office.
  • Can be seen as the “troublemaker”. Or creates a problem without realizing he is responsible for the consequences of his actions.


Practical Solutions Teachers and Parents Can Implement

My first suggestion would be to try to adopt a different paradigm to how children should do homework or act in class . Does this sound familiar:

  • “Sit still and concentrate on your homework”
  • “Stop fidgeting or flicking your pencil/pen, or riding on your chair”.

These kids learn and concentrate (focus) by allowing their bodies to move. If you tell a child with ADHD to sit still, you take their ability to focus away from them. Now they are concentrating so hard on keeping still that they cannot pay any attention to what the teacher is saying. Forcing their bodies to stay still can lead to frustration, anxiety and irritability.

Some solutions include:

  • Allowing them to sit on exercise balls while doing homework or in class.
  • Give them a pipe cleaner or piece of non-hardening clay to fidget with. Fidget spinner were created for this purpose but unfortunately they have been banned on most schools. A real pity.
  • Ask the student to help you with the class handouts.
  • At home ask them how long they think they can work before they feel they need a break. Some may need to work for 15 min and then need a 5 min break. (To avoid them taking advantage of this privilege, tell them that you are respecting their need for frequent movement and breaks but they need to be responsible for the management of breaks and completion of homework).
  • Some kids like to listen to music while doing homework.
  • Avoid any sugary drinks or snacks before doing work.
  • Use their energy to help them learn. If they have to learn spelling words, you can have them jump to their left with the first letter as they sound the letter out loud and then jump to their right saying the second letter. Continue like this until he has finished spelling the word.
  • If the activity is one they actually enjoy, you will be able to work for longer periods. For your more creative kids, let them make their weekly spelling words out of clay. This is is a fun activity that taps into their creativity and keeps their hands busy.
  • Other mediums to use for this activity can be sand, rice and magic foam.
  • Agree on a calming tool to use before they start work, especially after they have taken a break. This just brings their energy levels back to a working level. (The Davis© tool called “dial” works well here).
  • For counting or spelling, they can work in pairs by throwing softballs to each other while counting. This can work for times table too.
  • Place laminated numeral cards on the floor and have them do their times tables by placing the correct answer next to the equation.