How to Help Students with ADHD

How to Help Students with ADHD

Joanne Steers and Kate Horstmann have put together a fantastic book full of hundreds of ideas to help students with ADHD in school. I believe these strategies are great for a range of children, including those with ASD. The book is full of ideas for every day school situations, and provides easy strategies to implement. Kate has kindly put together some quick tips for keeping kids cool and calm, which will helpfully help you prevent a child’s anxiety!


Quick Tips for Helping Kids with ADHD Keep Cool and Calm at School

Get Organised. Rushing is nearly always stressful, and so is forgetting things. Having clear systems for everyday tasks is vital, and so is scheduling regular ‘chill out’ times in between activities.

Get Active! Regular exercise is great for kids with ADHD to release tension and creates a natural ‘happy buzz’. Getting active might be playing a sport, walking the dog, dancing to an MP3 or doing some push-ups.

Have a laugh. It is almost impossible to feel stressed while you are having a laugh or sharing a joke, so make sure that the student has plenty of time to have fun each day!

Break the mood. You can also use humour and a playful approach when you want to quickly change a mood and create some ‘breathing space’. This gives the student an opportunity to regain control and move away from feelings of blame or shame.

Check the basics. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water are all vital ingredients in ensuring that the brain and body get the sustenance it needs to function effectively. This is particularly important for children with ADHD.

Timing is everything. Remember that specific strategies to help a student with ADHD deal with stress should only be used in the early ‘rumbling’ stages. Once the young person is ‘exploding’ no strategy will be effective and they could actually create additional problems. Prevention is the key!

Don’t add demands. Learn to identify the early warning signs of stress that are unique to the child and make sure you don’t add demands or ‘remind’ them of what they should/need to be doing when they are in this stressed state. Focus on avoiding escalation by instead giving them a short break or by actually reducing demands.

Lead by example. Show the student how to cope with stress in a positive way by doing it yourself, even if you have to practice ‘faking it’ at times! Staying calm yourself when dealing with difficult situations is an invaluable skill for both you and them (and it can take lots of practice!).

Get it out in the Open. Talk about stress on a regular basis – make it an important topic for everyone, discuss examples from TV, talk through your own stressors and swap ideas and strategies.

How to Help Students with ADHD Change their Behaviour

Table of behaviours exhibited by students with ADHD and ideas to try to change the behaviour


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