Tips for the Classroom Teachers with ADHD Students

Thank you for all that you do in the classroom! It is hard enough being a classroom teacher today, but when you add to the difficulties two or three children with either Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or minor head injuries from FAS, managing a classroom can be a real challenge!

The ADHD Information Library has designed a web site just for you classroom teachers. We have taken 500 classroom interventions that we have gathered over the years from dozens of sources, and placed them on the site for you to visit, consider, and use if appropriate. Consider it a resource from classroom teachers to classroom teachers. The site is located at, and we would invite you to visit often.

Here are some of the tips for teachers that are also on the site. They are just a brief look at the 500 interventions available.

1. Use rows for seating arrangement, and avoid tables with groups of students. Having groups at tables maximizes interpersonal distractions for the ADHD child when he is trying to do individual work. Where possible, it may be ideal to provide several tables for group projects and traditional rows for independent work. Some teachers report that arranging desks in a horseshoe shape promotes appropriate discussion while permitting independent work. Whatever arrangement is selected, it is important for the teacher to be able to move about the entire room and have access to all students.

2. Have distractible students seated near the teacher, as close as possible without being punitive. Locate the student's desk away from both the hallway and windows to minimize auditory and visual distractions. Keep a portion of the room free of obvious visual and auditory distractions. For example, have one area of desks that doesn't have interesting objects hanging over it that invite the child to study them rather than her/his work.

3. Use desk dividers and/or study carrels. Be sure to introduce their use as a "privilege" or pair appropriate carrel usage with reinforcement, so these study aids are not perceived as punishment.

4. Seat appropriate peer models next to ADHD child.

5. Stand near the student when giving directions or presenting the lesson. Use the student's worksheet as an example.

Please consider some of these ideas that have been passed on to us at the ADHD Information Library over the years from professional educators.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of Incorporated.

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