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ADHD & School: Survival Tips for Children & Teens

written by: Sharon Dominica • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 7/25/2010

Going to school with ADHD can be hard. But it’s not impossible!! Here are some survival tips that can help you cope with ADHD and school.

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    Coping with Long Lectures:

    Children and teens with ADHD find it difficult to sit through, concentrate and learn from long lectures. However this is the technique that many teachers use to teach even today. Here are a couple of strategies that you can use to cope with long lectures.

    Find the right seat: This is the first step towards learning through lectures. Find a seat that is close enough to the teacher, and at the same time next to a friend or classmate who can help you. Make sure you are not next to a door or a window or anything else that can be a distraction. Make sure you can see the board clearly, and any other visual aids that the teacher may be using.

    Take notes: This is a great way to pay attention in class, and remember what was taught. Try to write important points instead of everything that the teacher is saying. The best way to make good notes is to go back home, read through them, and add any more information that you remember or can get from books or the Internet.

    Use a computer: If your school allows you to use a computer in class, it can help you make good, organized notes. At class, type in words, phrases and sentences that you feel are important. Later use your textbook and other resources to put it all together and make your own concise notes for learning. Some other assistive technologies too can help you study in the classroom.

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    ADHD and School: Coping with Schedules and Assignments:

    Children and teens with ADHD often tend to forget to do assignments as well as forgetting where they need to go for their next class. Here are some tips to help you get organized with classes and homework.

    School schedule: Make your own copy of your class schedule for a week. Include the location of every class and if you need to carry any special equipment for that class, include it also on the schedule (for example your swimming costume for swimming). Color code the various parts and make sure it is clear and easy to understand and read. Laminate it, if required and keep two copies- one in your locker/ desk and one in your bag. Use this schedule to help you make sure that you don’t miss classes and always know where to go.

    Assignment diary: Convert a small sized notebook into your assignment diary. Every morning, write the date on top of the page. Use it to record any assignments that the teachers give you. You can also use it to record any special events you find out about or anything you need to bring to school the next day. When you go home, put this information on to your planner, and check it every night before you sleep.

    Checklists: Make a checklist of things you need to check before you sleep. It can include checking your planner for any events, checking your assignment diary, checking your clothes for the next day, checking your schedule for the next day, and checking if all your books and stationary are in the bag. This will help you make sure that you don’t forget anything.

    Homework folder: Make a homework folder and put your assignments in it as soon as you’ve finished them. This will ensure that you don’t forget about them and leave them at home.

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    ADHD and School: Coping with Learning:

    Children with ADHD usually have different styles of learning, and find it difficult to cope with a lecture style of teaching. Here are some tips to help you learn.

    Record topics you didn’t really understand: During class and lectures record topics that you don’t understand in your assignment diary, or any other place that you have designated for this purpose. You can ask your teacher to explain this part or topic again, or go home and research it further.

    Use additional resources: If you are not comfortable with learning through lectures, use additional resources at home. The library and the Internet are two great places where you can start. A lot of good information, pictures and educational videos are available on the net and can help you learn.

    Find your own style: Experiment with different ways of studying and find out what works for you. Develop your own study style and routine.

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    ADHD and School: Coping with Friends and Classmates

    Often the most difficult aspect of school life is learning how to cope with friends and classmates. The best way to deal with this is to be honest and accept yourself. Accept that you are a little different from other children, especially in the way you learn. Find kids with similar interests. Make an effort to be nice to them, share and help them, and they too will accept you the way you are. Once you make a few friends in class, school becomes a lot more fun and easier to cope with. Your friends can also help you with your studies as well as helping you to remember your assignments and classes. A supportive environment can go a long way to help you cope with ADHD and school.

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    References:

    U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Office of Special Education Programs, Identifying and Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Resource for School and Home, Washington, D.C., 20202.

    Study Guides and Strategies, Joe Landsberger: http://www.studygs.net/adhd/index.htm

    ADDitude magazine : http://www.additudemag.com/topic/adhd-learning-disabilities/homework-study-help.html

    National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/complete-index.shtml