Sie sind auf Seite 1von 9

The Teacher’s

Guide to Common
Learning Challenges

From the ADHD Experts at

A trusted source of advice and information for families touched by attention-deficit disorder—
and a voice of inspiration to help people with ADHD find success at home, at school, and on the job.

TERMS OF USE Founder: Ellen Kingsley (1951-2007)

Copyright © 2017 by New Hope Media. All rights reserved. Editor In chief: Susan Caughman
No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted Editor: Wayne Kalyn
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, faxing, e-mailing, staff
posting online, or by any information storage and retrieval consulting creative Director: Joseph Caserto
system, without written permission from the Publisher. consulting art Director: Ron Anteroinen
Managing Editor: Eve Gilman
All trademarks and brands referred to herein are the prop- Reporter: Devon Frye Digital Content Editor: Janice Rodden
erty of their respective owners. All references to ADDitude Social Media editors: Rebecca Brown Wright, Penny Williams
magazine and are trademarks of New Digital Marketing Director: Anni Rodgers
Hope Media. Digital Marketing Manager: Kate Harmsworth
Advertising: Anne Mazza
CONTACT INFORMATION Circulation: Sue Sidler
Copy Editor: Gene Jones Web Editor: Hope Goodrich
New Hope Media – 646-366-0830 contributing Editors:
108 West 39th St, Suite 805 Carol Brady, Ph.D., and John Taylor, Ph.D. (Children)
New York, NY 10018 Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. (Life)
Sandy Maynard, M.S. (Coaching)
LEGAL NOTICES Michele Novotni, Ph.D. (Adults)
Ann Dolin, M.Ed., and Sandra F. Rief, M.A. (Education)
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or administrative assistant: Allison Russo
treatment. The information offered here is for informa-
tional purposes only and is not intended to substitute or
replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treat- scientific advisory board
ment. Always consult with your physician or other qualified
health-care professional or educational consultant for Russell Barkley, Ph.D. Peter Jensen, M.D.
Medical University of The REACH Institute
questions about your health and education, or the health South Carolina New York, NY
and education of your child and family members. Do not Charleston, SC
disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health re- Harold Koplewicz, M.D.
lated advice from your health-care professional because of Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. New York University Medical School
University of Southern California New York, NY
something you have read here. Los Angeles, CA
Sandy Newmark, M.D.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your William Dodson, M.D. Osher Center for
doctor or 911 immediately. ADDitude does not recom- Dodson ADHD Center Integrative Medicine,
mend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, Greenwood Village, CO University of California
San Francisco, CA
procedures, opinions, or other information that may be Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.
mentioned in ADDitude publications or websites. Reliance Lives in the Balance Michele Novotni, Ph.D.
on any information provided by ADDitude is solely at your Portland, ME The Villages, FL
own risk. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D.
The Hallowell Center Harvard Medical School
Sudbury, MA Boston, MA

Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D. J. Russell Ramsay, Ph.D.

University of California Perelman School of Medicine
Berkeley, CA University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Peter Jaksa, Ph.D.
ADD Center of America Jerome Schultz, Ph.D.
Chicago, IL Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA
The Teacher’s
Guide to Common
Learning Challenges
Children with ADHD may struggle with writing, math, or even
public speaking. Here’s how teachers can help them learn and

By the editors of ADDitude

Children with ADHD are not any smarter or slower than their class-
mates — they just think differently. Unfortunately, “different” some-
times causes problems in school — particularly in the critical areas
of reading, writing, math, and language. Thanks to working memory
deficits, attention problems, and organization difficulties, daily read-
ing assignments or math problems may become stumbling blocks for
students with ADHD — particularly those with comorbid learning
Early Signs of LD
disabilities. Learn what teachers should
How can teachers help? By maintaining patience and by using look out for in their students
ADHD-specific tricks to build interest, engagement, and inclusion. If a
student in your classroom struggles with reading, writing, calculating,
or speaking, try these tips to help her succeed.

Some children with ADHD — particularly those also diagnosed with
dyslexia — struggle to maintain focus or interest when they’re reading.
These students must feel engaged and entertained during the reading
process — or they will struggle with comprehension and fluency. To
transform reluctant readers, try these strategies:

Ask students to rephrase. When a student must explain a topic sen- from the editors of

Strategies and Support for ADHD & LD
tence or main idea in her own words, comprehension and understand-
ing of the topic soar.

Allow annotating. Provide small Post-its so students can make notes

as they read. Ask them to illustrate scenes, define unfamiliar words, or
make predictions about how the book will end. No matter how messy,
the notes will help keep students engaged and allow them to remember
key points.

Teach students to ask questions as they read. Asking — and an-

swering — questions like, “Where does the story take place?” “What will
the character do next?” or “What’s the main idea?” will help the student
think critically about the book as he goes.

Allow students to vocalize, when possible. Even just whispering Rethink Homework
the words to themselves can help children with ADHD stay focused as How teachers can make
they read. If the noise is distracting to other students, try playing soft nightly homework simpler
and more effective
instrumental music in the background to drown it out.

Encourage students to use tools to track their place on the

page. Covering up half of the page with a piece of paper, or tracking the
line with a strip of cardboard, can help a student with ADHD visually
focus on the text. If the student is reading on a computer, install
BeeLine Reader, a tool that uses color gradients to make online text
easier to read and track.

The sequence of listening, processing information, and then writing it
down is extremely challenging for students who struggle with working
memory, planning, and execution. They frequently struggle with word
retrieval and language processing, so they may know an answer but still
be unable to recall it and write it down. These students often need more
time with language-based tasks than do their peers. Unfortunately, due
to the fast-paced nature of today’s education system, they aren’t always
given adequate time — which can lead to incomplete or lackluster work.
To help students with writing assignments, teachers can:

Shorten them. It’s no secret that abbreviating a task makes it more

manageable, and gives students a sense of control. Don’t require stu-
The Teacher’s
dents with ADHD to answer all 20 questions on a homework assignment; Guide to Common
assign 10 problems that will allow them to demonstrate knowledge with- Learning Challenges
out causing them unnecessary stress. from the editors of

Strategies and Support for ADHD & LD
Provide extended time. If the full assignment must be completed in
one sitting — like a test — extend the time to allow the student to better
organize her thoughts and fully tackle each question. If it’s a long-term
assignment to be taken home, give the child an extra day or two to com-
plete it.

Simplify note taking. Children with ADHD are often unable to listen
to the teacher and write at the same time. Allow the student with ADHD
to share notes written by another student, or to record your lessons, so
that he can focus on what is being said.

Don’t take off points for poor handwriting or grammar. If the

assignment specifically measures these areas, allow wider latitude.
Writing Wizardry
These students are expending enormous effort to communicate and Help your students find the
remember, so it’s best to let some things slide — as long as they’re dem- words
onstrating their knowledge and trying their best.

Allow students to shine in other ways. Sometimes students with

ADHD struggle with writing, but excel at visual presentations. Children
who have trouble completing a written test may do fine when allowed to
respond orally to the questions. Whenever possible, allow the student
to express knowledge using his or her strongest skill.

Math requires multiple processes and brain functions, and is difficult
for many students — with or without ADHD. Children with ADHD face
additional challenges; working memory deficits, executive function
challenges, or comorbid learning disabilities can make math feel impos-
sible and overwhelming. Instead of just dismissing these students as not
being “math-minded,” teachers should provide extra support and direc-
tion, like the following:

Keep a model of a problem on the board, when possible, listing

all the steps taken for solving it. Some students with ADHD have work-
ing memory challenges and can’t hold the problem in mind as they look
back and forth from the board. Write the same problem in the same spot
every day. Number (don’t use letters) the steps in the order they are to
be completed.

Simplify word problems. Word problems are tough for everyone, The Teacher’s
but especially for kids with ADHD. Make word problems more concrete Guide to Common
Learning Challenges
and visual to help them meet the challenge. Have them circle needed
from the editors of

Strategies and Support for ADHD & LD
for instance, or underline the key strategy or phrase like, “How
much did she spend?”

Use mnemonics. Acronyms can help students remember the order

of math operations. Use Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (PEMDAS)
to help them solve problems with parentheses and other operations
(Parentheses first, Exponents next, Multiply or Divide from left to
right, Add or Subtract from left to right). Dumb Monkeys Sell Bananas
(Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring down) can make long division much

Provide frequent checks. Students feel understandably frustrated

when they complete a full assignment, only to be told they did every
Solve for X
problem wrong. Check their work every four or five problems, so you Making algebra easier —
can catch mistakes early and put them back on the right track. even with ADHD
Again, shorter assignments are better. Avoid overtaxing focus by
assigning a child with ADHD every second, third, or fourth math prob-
lem, not all of them. Make sure that the problems you do assign help to
improve the specific skills you want her to master.

Children with ADHD may have delayed language skills. They may
struggle to remember words, to express themselves, or to organize their
thoughts, which can make answering a teacher’s off-the-cuff question
When a student can’t answer a teacher’s queries, it’s easy to assume
he simply doesn’t know the answer. But in many cases, this isn’t true —
the child may just need more time (and a little guidance) to retrieve the
information and formulate an answer. Telling the child to hurry up, or
moving on to the next child when he pauses, can damage self-esteem —
and stops the child from fully demonstrating what he knows. Use these
strategies instead:

Help the student demonstrate his knowledge whenever pos-

sible. Educator Richard Lavoie suggests this technique: Tell your
students to write down three causes of World War I. Pause for a minute,
then ask your student with ADHD to give you one — it’s likely he’ll have
at least one, but he may not have all three yet. After he answers, move on
The Teacher’s
to other students for the remaining reasons so he’s not too pressured. Guide to Common
Learning Challenges
Speak slowly, and break down information into smaller units. from the editors of

Strategies and Support for ADHD & LD
When teachers rattle off ten critical pieces of information in one sen-
tence, a child who struggles to process oral language may become con-
fused. Provide information in small units — and check in frequently to
make sure you’re being understood.

Combine verbal and written instructions to reinforce your

message. Writing key points on the blackboard during a lecture, for
instance, can help a student keep track of the main ideas.

Allow children to write instead of speak, when possible. Asking

a child to write an answer on the blackboard, or on a personal white-
board, can be helpful for children who are nervous to speak in front of Break Through
their classmates. How teachers can reach
and support students with
Be creative — and understanding. No two children with oral lan- ADHD
guage delays will respond to the exact same interventions. Work with
the child to figure out what works for her.

The Teacher’s
Guide to Common
Learning Challenges
from the editors of

Strategies and Support for ADHD & LD
ADDitude eBooks
Available Now FREE ADDitude Downloads
40 Accommodations for
Children with ADHD/LD
You can increase the odds
The Complete IEP/504 Guide that your student will succeed
A step-by-step roadmap for securing services and accommodations in school by zeroing in on his
for your child with ADHD or LD. problems in the classroom and
including these proven accom-
If you’ve watched your child struggle in school, you know how important modations in his IEP or 504 Plan.
it is to get him the help he needs. Unfortunately, when it comes to accom-
modations, most parents aren’t sure where to even start. In this compre-
hensive step-by-step guide, we outline how to pursue an evaluation, which Top 5 Homework Frustra-
plan is best for your child’s needs, and how to secure accommodations that Why kids struggle with home-
work, suggested by educators and parents who’ve been there. work, and what you can do to
>> Learn more about this eBook:

The Secret Power of Fidgets

Learn how fidget toys can
The ADHD Parent-Teacher Handbook improve student behavior and
Forge a partnership with your child’s teacher by sharing these practical focus.
learning solutions for home and the classroom.
Kids with ADHD may forget to write down assignments or drift off during 10 Teaching Strategies that
lectures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to learn. Parents and teach- Help Students with ADHD
These guidelines for establishing
ers alike may struggle to manage these challenges on occasion, but one a supportive, structured class-
thing is clear: When everyone works together to provide support, children room will encourage learning and
with ADHD benefit. enforce discipline. The best part?
They will benefit your neurotypi-
>> Learn more about this eBook: cal students, too.

20 Secrets to a Smarter
Your ADHD Homework Survival Guide Don’t let your child get in a
A plan for getting assignments written down, completed, and handed summer slump.
in on time.
After working hard to focus and remember all day long, children with 18 Writing Tricks for ADHD
ADHD fight nightly homework with a vengeance. And who can blame Students
them? Children with ADHD struggle with executive functions, working Use these strategies to help your
memory, and focus — skills that are taxed all day. Parents who are tired of child put her ideas on paper.
daily battles over vocab lists and multiplication tables agree: There has to
be a better way. In this eBook, learn how to break the bad homework cycle
and keep children learning.
>> Learn more about this eBook: Find these and many
more free ADHD
resources online at:

ADHD Webinar Replays
from ADDitude: FREE ADHD
Newsletters from
How Stress Impacts Learning and Behavior ADDitude
Sign up to receive criti-
>> cal news and information
In today’s high-pressure school environment, kids with ADHD or LD can about ADHD diagnosis
become overwhelmed by stress. In this audio and slide presentation, hosted by and treatment, success at
Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D., find out how school stress impacts your child’s brain school, adult ADHD, and
— and what you can do about it. Get the tools you need to help your child parenting strategies:
manage academic stress so her brain has room to grow and learn!

Adult ADHD and LD

How to Start (and End) the School Year Organized Expert advice on managing your
>> household, time, money, career,
and relationships.
Kids with ADHD often forget to write down homework assignments, lose
important papers, and feel overwhelmed by big projects — and end up earning
Children with ADHD and LD
poor grades, in large part because they’ve never learned how to get organized. Strategies and support for par-
This webinar teaches systems for organization — as well as strategies to follow ents on behavior and discipline,
through with those systems and stay organized all year round. time management, disorganiza-
tion, and making friends.

The ADHD-Executive Function Connection ADHD and LD at School

>> How to get classroom accom-
modations, finish homework,
We’ve all heard of executive functions — the brain-based skills that affect how work with teachers, find the right
we plan, organize, and carry out tasks. But how do executive functions relate schools, and much more.
to ADHD — and how can children and adults with the condition compensate
for natural deficiencies in these critical skills? Thomas Brown, Ph.D., explains Treating ADHD
the ins and outs of executive functions and how they affect your focus in this Treatment options for attention
expert webinar. deficit, including medications,
food, supplements, brain training,
mindfulness and other alternative
Teaching Students with ADHD therapies.
For Women with ADHD
Teaching kids is hard work; teaching kids with ADHD simply cannot be done Managing ADHD on the job, run-
without special tools that help teachers implement IEPs, deal with disruptive ning a household, dealing with
behaviors, and more. In this expert webinar, Jerome Schultz, Ph.D., addresses challenging emotions, and much
teachers’ top concerns and explains how to create effective learning environ-
ments — for all students.

Your Legal Rights at School

You know your child has a right to accommodations at school — but under-
standing exactly what those accommodations are? That’s another story. In this
expert webinar, Matt Cohen, Esq., interprets the “legal speak” and explains
what evaluations, testing, and accommodations your child is entitled to by law.