Research has shown that structured programmes of advice for parents and teachers can improve behaviour and concentration.

Working with ADHD in the classroom can be challenging. Don’t take it personally. There is a medical reason for much of the child/young person’s behaviour. A reason is not an excuse. ADHD, is the reason for unacceptable behaviour, but not an excuse for it.

Every adult in school should understand the needs of the child and good communication with parents ensures consistency of approach to the academic and social difficulties that may arise in school.

With your help children and young people with ADHD can learn to control their behaviour better.

How can we find strategies to help?


  • consider classroom seating plan, for example having a child/young person seated near the teacher or next to a good role model, away from doors and windows can be helpful
  • keep learning areas light and airy
  • pre-empt tricky times and focus on ‘flashpoints’, for example particular times or situations where there are concerns, start of the lesson, lining up, lunchtimes and have a member of staff who can meet and greet, adapt transition times
  • use a red card to get out of tricky situations
  • lining up – adapt ‘normal procedures.’ Let them go first and then earn a reward until this is managed without difficulties.



  • set realistic targets – break tasks down into small manageable chunks, list and say all the steps necessary to complete longer tasks. Make frequent checks on work achieved
  • ask to have instructions repeated back to you to clarify understanding
  • use visual prompts and task lists to tick off work completed where possible
  • have stretch breaks and then refocus on the task, for example Tai Chi, Brain Gym, relaxing to background music
  • develop techniques for getting a child to listen such as making eye contact where appropriate, doing one thing at a time, focus on instructions or what to do rather than what not to do and provide a visual prompt where possible
  • regular child or young person centred reviews should be held in school. Parents /carers, teachers, SENCO’s and the child or young person should work closely together.
  • teach organisational skills – give rewards for remembering to title work, planner checks, monitoring cards, information cards, task cards
  • study buddy – have a peer who can text/phone e.g. remembering PE kit or homework, food technology ingredients
  • audio materials – for texts to enhance learning and understanding such as using ICT
  • highlight important points and block out unnecessary written information, for example using post it notes, highlighter pens
  • combine seeing, saying, writing and doing – they may need to sub-vocalise or talk quietly to remember
  • make learning fun with opportunities for kinaesthetic ‘hands on’ learning
  • be strategic about homework – consider the amount given, and avoiding lots of deadlines at once.
  • use concentrators/ fiddle objects – such as stress ball, blu-tac, pipe cleaners – Google Tangle Toys for more resources.


Behaviour strategies

  • be consistent. Work out in advance what to do when and a child behaves well or where there are difficulties– then do it consistently
  • use regular rewards systems and keep changing them to maintain interest
  • use time limited activities and alternative activities, for example bogus errand, puzzle, produce a drawing as ‘time out’ as a strategy to lead a child or young person back to re-focus
  • reward attention give special privileges, certificates, prizes
  • amplified praise – give praise in the presence of others e.g. teachers, parents, peers
  • give free choice activities on a ‘when’ and ‘then’ principle.


Social strategies

  • use school buddy system to support with friendships
  • enable paired work which can help improve understanding and self awareness after school clubs
  • encourage participation in lunch time and after school club
  • avoid sarcasm and put downs – try to focus on rewarding the positive behaviours promoting positive self esteem and shaping positive behaviours
  • praise – label and praise positive social behaviour you would like to see more of, for example "Well done I really like the way you stayed calm there!"


Leaflet reference: L711
Version: V2
Date last updated: 12 / 2016
Archive date: 12 / 2019

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