About attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Students with ADHD have different levels of attention and concentration. They may lose focus when doing tasks or listening to their teachers speak. It can seem like their mind is elsewhere; it may appear that they don’t listen to instructions, or they may get easily distracted part way through a task. They may show reduced attention to detail, appearing to make careless mistakes. They can be forgetful and appear disorganised, such as when getting their things ready for a task and packing up.
Students with ADHD may also be hyperactive and impulsive. They may fidget, appear restless or move around the classroom when they are expected to sit still. They may talk a lot, interrupt others, and find it uncomfortable to wait their turn or play quietly. They can be highly active. Sometimes, this can make group work challenging and can impact a student’s social interaction with others.
What might be some strengths?
- Students with ADHD may have similar thinking and communication skills to other students.
- They may show creativity, such as coming up with more imaginative ideas or thinking 'outside the box'. This may be shown non-verbally, using movement or drawing.
- Some have strong feelings of self-competence. They may become quite good at overcoming obstacles.
- Some students with ADHD may be good at doing what their teacher asks. A student may be able to answer back eagerly or help out with tasks quickly.
- Some students with ADHD may be excited to learn new things and might be more involved in their learning. They may be more willing to raise their hand and ask relevant questions.
Where might you provide support?
- Students with ADHD may sometimes look like they are ‘daydreaming’. It may appear that they are not interested in the activity. They may not respond straight away when their name is called.
- Some students may find extra support and time helpful as they read, write, do maths and learn new information.
- Give lots of guidance with assignments and homework. They may forget to write homework down or work on it at home. They may also lose worksheets or bring the wrong books and papers to class. They may not hand in finished homework on time.
- Sitting still at their desks for long periods of time can be uncomfortable. They may call out, fidget, leave their seats or talk to their classmates.
- They may need support to manage their emotions. Their relationships with other kids and teachers can be affected if they forget to follow rules or take turns.
- All these areas can affect how students with ADHD view themselves. They may need support and encouragement to help them feel positive about themselves.
Consider how you communicate
Modify the environment
Tailor activities to be as inclusive as possible
Support students to self-manage
Teach academic skills
Best practice tips
- Some students with ADHD are highly creative and may enjoy and excel in Technologies.
- Some students may be motivated by technology.
- They may find it easier to understand and complete tasks in other learning areas that integrate design and digital technologies.
- Refer to Tailor activities, and vary teaching formats.
Other co-occurring conditions
Visit our resources page for a range of resources that can help to create inclusive education environments for students with disabilities and developmental challenges. Some particularly relevant resources for students with ADHD include: