homework help for adhd students

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13 No-Excuses Homework Rules for Students with ADHD

Help your child succeed with tried-and-true rules, like taking away the cell phone and encouraging study breaks. make nightly homework a little more pleasant with these tips..

homework help for adhd students

Sit with your child and talk through what needs to be done. Once she starts to work, you may fold laundry, knit, or read in the same room. At some point, she may ask you to leave. If so, go.

Get him moving.

Physical activity — walking on a treadmill or fiddling with pipe cleaners — increases alertness for mental activity. Encourage your student to walk around the house reading aloud from a book. Chances are, she will soon settle down and be able to focus on her work.

Use medication.

Talk with your doctor about prescribing a short-acting medication for after school. When medication is working, students stay focused and complete homework more quickly. They also tend to remember the material they studied.

Set the stage.

Make your child feel comfortable as he starts his homework. Have him wear comfortable clothes, and make the sure the environment doesn’t distract him. Some kids need a quiet room with no distractions, while others need a little background noise.

Make it fun.

Writing the definitions of 25 vocabulary words is boring. Turn it into a game. Post words and definitions around the house for your child to match. Have him jump on the trampoline while learning multiplication facts. Talk with his teacher about ways to make homework active.

[ Free Resource: Solve Your Child’s Homework Problems ]

Avoid interruptions.

Once the student begins homework, hold his telephone calls until break time or until homework is completed. You may have to take his cell phone away to keep him from texting.

Spice things up.

If a homework assignment is boring, play music or TV at low volume. For reading, break assignments into segments marked by colored paper clips. When the student reads as far as the clip, he can take a well-deserved break.

Skip missing information.

Students with ADHD often look for excuses to stop doing their homework. So if he needs information to answer a question, have him work around it, leaving a blank that can be filled in later that night or the next day.

Nag no more.

Ask your child how many reminders she’ll need to stay on task in order to finish an assignment. If she says she’ll need two reminders, stick to that number. When she’s off track, state that you are giving a friendly reminder and then walk away. At any point when you see that she’s doing the right thing, praise her diligence.

[ 10 Secrets to Studying Smarter with ADHD ]

Check for completion.

Rather than arguing with your child over the quality of the work he’s producing, hold him accountable only for completing the homework thoroughly. Leave the quality check to the teacher.

Help the right way.

If your child gets “stuck” from time to time when doing homework — solving a math problem, say — don’t do it for him. Ask your child if there are similar problems in his notes or if there’s an example in his textbook. This encourages problem-solving and self-reliance, and takes you out of the equation.

Take a break if no homework has been assigned.

Don’t require your child to study on those rare days when he doesn’t have anything to do. Use the time to have fun with your child. You will deepen family relationships and build his self-esteem.

Find a tutor.

If you find it hard to help your child with schoolwork, find someone who can. A junior or senior high school student may be ideal — and charge a modest fee — depending on the need and age of your child.

[ Scripts to End Every Homework Fight ]

Readers’ Choice: Best Tips For Homework

  • Physical activity breaks
  • Accommodation for reduced homework
  • A reminder note or a timer to let the child know when it’s time to start
  •  Limiting homework time to an hour total, doing it in 10-minute bursts.
  • Parent writes down child’s responses to questions
  • Having a snack before starting homework
  • A homework club/program with peers
  • Breaking homework assignments into small pieces
  • A reward after finishing homework
  • Doing homework in the morning

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ADHD and classroom challenges

What teachers can do to help children with adhd, classroom accommodations for students with adhd, teaching techniques for students with adhd, teaching students with adhd.

Dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the classroom? These tips for teachers can help you overcome common challenges and help kids with ADHD succeed at school.

homework help for adhd students

If you’re a teacher, you know these kids: The one who stares out the window, substituting the arc of a bird in flight for her math lesson. The one who wouldn’t be able to keep his rear end in the chair if you used Krazy Glue. The one who answers the question, “What body of water played a major role in the development of the Ancient Egyptian civilization?” with “Mrs. M, do you dye your hair?”

Students who exhibit ADHD’s hallmark symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can be frustrating. You know the brainpower is there, but they just can’t seem to focus on the material you’re working hard to deliver. Plus, their behaviors take time away from instruction and disrupt the whole class.

Students with ADHD may:

  • Demand attention by talking out of turn or moving around the room.
  • Have trouble following instructions, especially when they're presented in a list, and with operations that require ordered steps, such as long division or solving equations.
  • Often forget to write down homework assignments, do them, or bring completed work to school.
  • Often lack fine motor control, which makes note-taking difficult and handwriting a trial to read.
  • Have problems with long-term projects where there is no direct supervision.
  • Not pull their weight during group work and may even keep a group from accomplishing its task.

Think of what the school setting requires children to do: Sit still. Listen quietly. Pay attention. Follow instructions. Concentrate. These are the very things kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) have a hard time doing—not because they aren’t willing, but because their brains won’t let them. That doesn’t make teaching them any easier, of course.

Children and teens with ADHD often pay the price for their problems in low grades, scolding and punishment, teasing from their peers, and low self-esteem. Meanwhile, you, the teacher, feel guilty because you can’t reach the child with ADHD and wind up taking complaints from parents who feel their kids are being neglected in the classroom. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are strategies you can employ to help students with ADHD overcome learning challenges, stay focused without disrupting others, and succeed in the classroom .

So how do you teach a kid who won't settle down and listen? The answer: with a lot of patience, creativity, and consistency. As a teacher, your role is to evaluate each child's individual needs and strengths. Then you can develop strategies that will help students with ADHD focus, stay on task, and learn to their full capabilities.

Successful programs for children with ADHD integrate the following three components:

  • Accommodations: what you can do to make learning easier for students with ADHD.
  • Instruction: the methods you use in teaching.
  • Intervention: How you head off behaviors that disrupt concentration or distract other students.

Your most effective tool, however, in helping a student with ADHD is a positive attitude. Make the student your partner by saying, “Let's figure out ways together to help you get your work done.” Assure the student that you'll be looking for good behavior and quality work and when you see it, reinforce it with immediate and sincere praise. Finally, look for ways to motivate a student with ADHD by offering rewards on a point or token system.

Dealing with disruptive classroom behavior

To head off behavior that takes time from other students, work out a couple of warning signals with the student who has ADHD. This can be a hand signal, an unobtrusive shoulder squeeze, or a sticky note on the student's desk. If you have to discuss the student's behavior, do so in private. And try to ignore mildly inappropriate behavior if it's unintentional and isn't distracting other students or disrupting the lesson.

Speak to a Licensed Therapist

BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you to licensed, accredited therapists who can help with depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Take the assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.

As a teacher, you can make changes in the classroom to help minimize the distractions and disruptions of ADHD.

  • Seat the student with ADHD away from windows and away from the door.
  • Put the student with ADHD right in front of your desk unless that would be a distraction for the student.
  • Seats in rows, with focus on the teacher, usually work better than having students seated around tables or facing one another in other arrangements.
  • Create a quiet area free of distractions for test-taking and quiet study.

Information delivery

  • Give instructions one at a time and repeat as necessary.
  • If possible, work on the most difficult material early in the day.
  • Use visuals: charts, pictures, color coding.
  • Create outlines for note-taking that organize the information as you deliver it.

Student work

  • Create worksheets and tests with fewer items, give frequent short quizzes rather than long tests, and reduce the number of timed tests.
  • Test students with ADHD in the way they do best, such as orally or filling in blanks.
  • Divide long-term projects into segments and assign a completion goal for each segment.
  • Accept late work and give partial credit for partial work.


  • Have the student keep a master binder with a separate section for each subject, and make sure everything that goes into the notebook is put in the correct section. Color-code materials for each subject.
  • Provide a three-pocket notebook insert for homework assignments, completed homework, and “mail” to parents (permission slips, PTA flyers).
  • Make sure the student has a system for writing down assignments and important dates and uses it.
  • Allow time for the student to organize materials and assignments for home. Post steps for getting ready to go home.

Teaching techniques that help students with ADHD focus and maintain their concentration on your lesson and their work can be beneficial to the entire class.

Starting a lesson

  • Signal the start of a lesson with an aural cue, such as an egg timer, a cowbell or a horn. (You can use subsequent cues to show how much time remains in a lesson.)
  • Establish eye contact with any student who has ADHD.
  • List the activities of the lesson on the board.
  • In opening the lesson, tell students what they're going to learn and what your expectations are. Tell students exactly what materials they'll need.

Conducting the lesson

  • Keep instructions simple and structured. Use props, charts, and other visual aids.
  • Vary the pace and include different kinds of activities. Many students with ADHD do well with competitive games or other activities that are rapid and intense.
  • Have an unobtrusive cue set up with the student who has ADHD, such as a touch on the shoulder or placing a sticky note on the student's desk, to remind the student to stay on task.
  • Allow a student with ADHD frequent breaks and let him or her squeeze a rubber ball or tap something that doesn't make noise as a physical outlet.
  • Try not to ask a student with ADHD perform a task or answer a question publicly that might be too difficult.

Ending the lesson

  • Summarize key points.
  • If you give an assignment, have three different students repeat it, then have the class say it in unison, and put it on the board.
  • Be specific about what to take home.

More Information

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) - Tips and resources for teachers. (Center for Parent Information and Resources)
  • In the Classroom: Ideas and Strategies for Kids with ADD and Learning Disabilities - Suggestions for teaching children with ADHD. (Child Development Institute)
  • Motivating the Child with Attention Deficit Disorder - How ADHD symptoms interfere with classroom expectations and how to realistically motivate a child. (LD Online)
  • Step-by-Step Guide for Securing ADHD Accommodations at School - Meeting your child’s educational needs with ADHD accommodations at school. (ADDitude)
  • Contents of the IEP - Guide to developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with school staff to address your child’s educational needs. (Center for Parent Information and Resources)
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders. (2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . American Psychiatric Association. Link
  • Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Instructional Strategies and Practices– Pg 1. (2008). [Reference Materials; Instructional Materials]. US Department of Education. Link
  • Gaastra, G. F., Groen, Y., Tucha, L., & Tucha, O. (2016). The Effects of Classroom Interventions on Off-Task and Disruptive Classroom Behavior in Children with Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analytic Review. PLOS ONE, 11(2), e0148841. Link
  • CDC. (2019, November 7). ADHD in the Classroom . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link

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