ADHD in Schools: How Schools Can Help Kids with ADHD

Do you have a child with ADHD? Are you wondering how the school can support your child's needs? If so, continue reading to learn more about ADHD and to explore educational possibilities for school-age children who display symptoms.

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Educational Support for Children with ADHD

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain condition that can make it challenging for kids to sit still or pay adequate attention in school. Kids with ADHD may display a combination of symptoms related to inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity at home, on the playground or in the classroom. Though it's normal for children to express a certain amount of distracted and impulse-driven behavior, kids diagnosed with ADHD often display these behaviors more than the developmental norm for their age. ADHD is generally considered to be one of the most prevalent neurobehavioral problems among children in the United States.

Diagnosis and Evaluation

It's important to have your child evaluated before assuming that he or she has ADHD. You or your child's teacher may give an initial report of your child's recurrent ADHD symptoms. A team of school professionals can then perform an evaluation to assess whether or not your son or daughter qualifies for special education services. This team will usually include learning specialists, school psychologists, school administrators, social workers, teachers or child psychiatrists. The team may test your child for visual or hearing impairments to see if other factors or learning disabilities are contributing to his or her symptoms. They may also observe your child in different situations to make sure that his or her behavior is not circumstantial in nature.

Special Education Services

If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, he or she may qualify for special education services under a status of 'Other Health Impairment' within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If your child is deemed eligible for IDEA services, school professionals will work together with you to create an individualized education plan for your child with distinct annual objectives. Any changes made in your child's individualized education plan require your consent (

Students with ADHD who do not require IDEA services may still be served under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which assures an appropriate school education to students regardless of disability ( To qualify for services under Section 504, your child still must be evaluated by a team of school professionals, but he or she will not need an individualized education plan. Children who are eligible for Section 504 services may remain in a regular classroom setting and receive targeted support, such as curriculum load reductions, increased parent-teacher collaboration and specialized teaching within the classroom.

Classroom Tips

Kids with ADHD may need more structure in the classroom than their peers. Consider asking your child's teacher to make lists of daily goals and to remind your child to check the list each day. Kids with ADHD often need consistent reminders and review. You may also ask your child's teacher to seat him or her near the front of the classroom to allow for continual daily interaction. Frequent eye contact between teachers or aides and ADHD students can be a positive way to help these students stay on-track with schoolwork.

A list of classroom rules can be especially helpful for ADHD kids. Consider asking your child's teacher to write out classroom rules on poster board in an easy-to-read script, and to hang the rules where your child can easily see them. These children also benefit when an educator breaks large, complex tasks into small tasks that can be completed one step at a time.

Children with ADHD are often highly intuitive. Consider asking your child's teacher to consult with your son or daughter about what might support his or her learning on a weekly basis. Finally, these children often thrive when they are able to exercise vigorously throughout the day, so you might ask your son or daughter's teacher to encourage your child to participate in physical activities during recess and physical education periods.

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