Those Tough Transitions: ADHD in the Classroom

ADHD in the Classroom

The current transition affecting our kids with ADHD is the one that takes them from unstructured, carefree, homework free days to the structure of early mornings, timed classes, homework and projects, and after school requirements. All of this is hard enough for the average child. Add ADHD and you can have a significant impact on executive functioning that has not been an issue for the summer.

Now he is in school and that adjustment is slow to come. Specifically, transition occurs for our kids in middle and high school as they change classes every period. Although the significance of this is not taken quite seriously enough, this child must adjust to another teacher, personality, and expectations every forty minutes. This is a glimpse of the energy it takes to cope with ADHD. In addition, the transition begins before he even gets to the next classroom as he packs up his things, tries to listen to last minute instructions by the teacher through all of the noise, write down any of those instructions as well as write down anything on the board that is relative to the homework, and maybe remember that he didn’t hand in his homework in the beginning of the period, necessitating a long and painful back pack search. As he leaves the class, he still has to remember the necessary papers and books he needs for the next class. Yes, although transitioning is not considered as a big deal, it is a big deal for our kids with ADHD and impaired executive functioning. This is a depiction of ADHD in the classroom.

So what could help this period of transitioning? If this transitioning is creating difficulty, I am sure that there is most likely a need for an ADHD accommodation in several areas. It is important to have a 504 or IEP in place to have these accommodations or modifications documented and followed. Examples:

  • More time at the end of a period to allow packing up and copying assignments
  • Use of technology (phone) to take a picture of an assignment
  • Emailed assignments
  • Additional prompting for handing in assignments

The above strategies depend on how the child receives them. They will work if they work for that individual child. Transitioning will always be difficult, no matter in what environment. But with this difficult executive function supported with strategies and special education accommodations, this child can and will be able to attain success.

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