ADHD & Learning Strategies


by Scott Young, WT Children's Counselor

The learning process demands that the student pay as much attention to the teaching method as possible in order to assimilate the data provided. If this occurs, then cognitive processing of the data can occur which leads to integration and organization with prior information in the learner’s memory. A child with diffused attention, such as in ADHD, receives bit and pieces of the lesson information. This typically results in the transfer of bits and pieces of information being transferred to long term memory.

Some of the ways ADHD effect learning are the inability to recognize other people's needs and desires. A child with ADHD may interrupt talking and may have trouble waiting their turn for things like classroom activities and when playing games with other children. A child with ADHD may have difficulty keeping emotions – both good and bad – in check. They may have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times or temper tantrums (in younger children). They may have trouble paying attention even when being spoken to directly. They'll say they heard you, but when asked to repeat back what you just said, they will have no idea what it was. They may have trouble following instructions that require planning and executing a plan, which leads to careless mistakes. Children who can’t concentrate due to inability to pay attention only receive part of the spoken message in classrooms. But there are some things that teachers and parents can do to help learning come easier for those with diffused attention.

Some effective ways to help children with ADHD learn better in school:

1. Provide interactive and hands-on learning. Children with disabilities learn better by doing things than by talking about them

2. Pair written instructions with oral instructions.

3. Give clear, concise instructions and repeat the directions

4. Speak when the child is paying attention

5. Establish a nonverbal cue to get the child’s attention 6. Establish a routine so the child knows what to expect (this may be a daily agenda or checklist that can be posted visibly in the classroom

Some effective ways to help with homework:

1. Help the child find his strength and capitalize on it. Pursue skill and competency in that area. You may have to try several activities to find the right one for the child.

2. When doing homework create a "completed work" folder. This folder will serve as a reminder for what needs to go back to school. For children who have trouble remembering to tell their parents about homework, a sheet for parents to sign once the work is finished and packed in the child's school bag may help.

3. Create consistent routines for doing homework.

4. Make sure homework comes home. If your child has trouble copying down homework assignments, tell his teacher. She may have ideas on how to help him remember or may be willing to e-mail you the assignments at home

5 Don't let her procrastinate. Make sure your child understands the assignment and gets started. Stay nearby so you can offer support.

6. Schedule breaks. Concentration takes a lot of energy for kids with ADD. A five-minute break every 20 minutes helps them recharge.


Scott Young, MS, CCC, LNC earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 1992 and has been a nationally certified Christian Counselor since 2003. Having worked professionally in inpatient psychiatry for 16 years and with children and adults as a mobile therapist, Scott specializes in family counseling, children’s counseling, parenting concerns, individuals with special needs, developmental and learning disabilities, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, anger, social skills, self esteem, depression, and character building. Scott has seen the importance of looking at each person holistically and considers all areas of health when working with clients. Scott earned a doctorate in Naturopathy in 2014 and offers a comprehensive approach to overall health and well-being by integrating counseling, botanical and herbal medicine, naturopathic and holistic medicine, and lifestyle therapy. Scott is passionate about working with children and serving as an advocate for children with special needs.

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