How to Help a Child With ADD Learn at School


According to the National Resource Center on AD/HD, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) afflicts approximately five to eight percent of American school-aged children. ADD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are similar, but not identical, as not all children exhibit hyperactive symptoms. Children with ADD primarily suffer from an inability to concentrate or focus for extended periods of time, struggle with time management and organizational tasks, become distracted easily and forgetful about common activities. Students with ADD therefore need assistance in learning to focus on their studies, so they can achieve success in school.

Step 1

Establish guidelines with your child’s teachers to monitor his behavior. A behavior plan and its related strategy can help you work as a team in the best interests of your child. Discuss and create goals for your child, and be willing to accept constructive criticism for the sake of your child.

Step 2

Maintain consistent communication with your child’s teachers. Great Schools suggests that you request regular meetings, via phone, email or in person, so you can remain alert to your child’s needs and progress. Discuss methods that are working or not working, and make modifications to the plan.

Step 3

Develop a behavior strategy with your child. Discuss with her the reality of both rewards and consequences based on her willingness to behave appropriately in school and at home. Let your child know that her teachers will also have a copy of the plan and will reinforce it accordingly, to help your child curb interruptions or impulsive behavior.

Step 4

Ask your child what distracts him at school. Engage him in writing a plan of action to overcome those distractions. Create concise, easily achievable steps for implementing the plan.

Step 5

Facilitate crucial strategies with your child’s teachers, such as seating your child away from doors and windows to reduce her distractions; incorporating physical activity whenever possible; making written directions easily accessible; and breaking down each assignment into smaller, more easily accomplished “chunks.” Request that the teachers reinforce steps in the behavior plan and redirect your child as necessary, rather than potentially embarrassing her in front of classmates.

Step 6

Establish homework guidelines and procedures with your child, as developing study skills and properly completing his schoolwork will assist in the learning process while he is at school. Help him organize his study area, keep homework materials in clearly marked folders and use checklists to track his progress. Allow him to take frequent breaks, with the understanding that he must return to, and complete, his homework.

Step 7

Reinforce learning by engaging your child in conversation about her schoolwork. Encourage your child to continue to do her best. Praise and reward each accomplishment, to instill an ongoing desire to learn at school.

Tips and Warnings

  • Consult with your child’s pediatrician and other professionals regarding options, best treatments and most suitable therapies.
    Research and request alternatives to drugs like Ritalin.
    Exercise patience with your child.
    Encourage your child in each small victory.
  • Don’t lose your temper with your child or display your frustration, as this will only serve to discourage him.
    Don’t assume that drugs like Ritalin provide the only solution. Seek additional professional opinions and options.

About this Author

K’Lee Banks started writing professionally in 1984 and has two poems published in anthologies. She has written Web content for Study2U, Remilon, ConnectEd and numerous private clients. She is also an entrepreneur who makes customized quilts and crafts. Banks has a Master of Education from American InterContinental University Online and is pursuing a doctorate in education from Northcentral University.