Modifying Instruction: Teaching Students with ADD

Suggested modifications to make for students with ADD/ADHD, including lesson presentation, physical arrangement of the classroom, and work assignments.
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Updated on: April 12, 2002
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Work Assignments

Because many students with attention deficit disorder are inefficient learners, it is a good idea to spend some time helping them develop learning strategies. Organizational strategies are a must for students with attention deficit disorder. Help them get into the habit of making reminders for themselves of what they need to do, using such strategies as assignment sheets, daily schedules, and "to do" lists.

A teacher in Suffield, Connecticut designed a daily check-sheet for students to keep track of assignments, grades, and targeted behaviors. Here's how it works:

  • The first column lists all of the student's classes. Next to it is a column for the student's grades. The next column features criteria (e.g., Is on time for class, Came prepared with appropriate materials, Participates in instruction and discussion, Completes homework). A space is left for the student to write in homework assignments. At the end of the day, the student reviews the check-sheet and uses the data on it to determine what to take home for study purposes.

  • Parents are expected to review and sign the check-sheet daily. Daily check-sheets like the one just described enable you to maintain an active record of student progress. These check-sheets also assist the student by clarifying expectations and highlighting successes.

Teach older students how to take notes from both oral presentations and textbooks. Help the student by listing the main ideas or concepts in advance. Some teachers have found it helpful to give their students a template graphic organizer to use when outlining and taking notes.

Other tactics that teachers have used to help students focus in on the task at hand include the following:

  • Use color coding or highlighting to help focus attention on critical information contained in assignments.

  • Give clear directions both orally and visually. Whenever possible, provide the student with a model of what he or she should be doing.

  • Set up consistent routines for making the transition between lessons, getting and putting away materials, and requesting assistance. Teach these routines and reward students for following them.

Excerpted from Teaching Strategies: Education of Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.