Finding and Encouraging Strengths of Children with ADHD in the Classroom

It can be very difficult to teach children with ADHD. Their unique brains are not always well-suited for traditional classroom strategies and tasks, and it is difficult to accommodate these differences in a classroom of non-ADHD children! As such, it is always important to remember some areas of child strengths (or resiliency factors) to seek out and encourage as they try to comply to the requests and standards that can be such a challenge for them:

Intelligence: Children with ADHD are frequently of average to above-average intelligence. Unfortunately, many of them (and their parents!) easily forget or disregard this strength as it is overshadowed by missing assignments, poor test scores, or behavior problems. Finding a child’s unique intellectual abilities and using them to encourage their learning is important! • Creativity: Children (and adults) with ADHD are oftentimes skilled at thinking outside-of-the-box and applying their knowledge in new and creative ways. Offering a child with ADHD opportunities to problem-solve and create in the classroom can more readily engage them in the learning process • Activity level: Although it can be frustrating in the classroom, hyperactive behaviors can be a wonderful gift for a child with ADHD. You can utilize and encourage this gift by allowing children to run notes to the office, take time to stretch, or quietly fidget with something small at their desk. • Desire to Please: We have found that even the most oppositional children with ADHD generally want to do well and gain recognition from their parents and teachers. However, their ADHD symptoms sometimes make this goal feel impossible. Allowing children with ADHD to succeed and experience positive reinforcement in tasks at school will help to decrease the likelihood that the child learns to dislike school or think of him or herself as a poor student.

Of course, individualized recommendations for teachers come from our psychoeducational and psychological evaluations. With a family’s permission, the clinicians at The Affinity Center are always glad to aid the client’s teacher(s) with creating and implementing educational plans tailored to the child’s unique needs and strengths.