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Christina Wedberg

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About Author — Christina has been a writer since 2010 and has an M.F.A. from The New School for Social Research. Christina specializes in writing about health issues and education.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.

ADHD’s Effect on Learning

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children can start to impact learning as soon as preschool. It’s estimated that about two million kids in the United States have ADHD. That means in a class of 24 to 30 children, probably at least one child will have ADHD.

Read on to learn more about how ADHD can affect learning in school and some ways to help prepare your child for the classroom.

How ADHD Can Impact Learning for Your Child

Depending on the type of ADHD your child is diagnosed with, they may experience issues that impact their memory, concentration, communication, or interaction with other children. These issues may not be easily seen when a child first starts school, but signs may gradually increase as your child’s education progresses.

Symptoms of ADHD such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity may make it difficult for your child to carry out tasks that require extended time concentrating, as well as deal with their teachers and peers at school. They may also rebel at home by making excuses to put off homework and become irritated and defiant when pressed.

What Teachers Might See with Your ADHD Child

ADHD can present challenges for your child during class time that make it harder for him or her to complete lessons. Your child’s teacher might see the following:

  • Talks During ClassKids with ADHD may have a hard time keeping their thoughts to themselves and waiting for their turn to speak. Your child’s teacher might see a child interrupting with a question during lesson time, talking with other students during quiet time, or have difficulty giving a succinct answer to a question.
  • Has Difficulty Working in Groups – Children with ADHD can have trouble filtering what they say and get frustrated when they must listen to other kid’s ideas. A teacher might see arguments with other students or a child unwilling to collaborate.
  • Starts Assignments But Doesn’t Complete Them – ADHD kids can easily get derailed from an assignment and find it difficult to complete their task. A teacher may see kids unable to concentrate because of noise levels or easily getting bored and start an unscheduled activity such as reading a book.
  • Difficulty Focusing During Lessons – Because kids with ADHD often have trouble staying focused, your child’s teacher might experience instances of asking for directions over and over again, or getting confused about what items might be needed for a project.
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How to Prepare Your Child for the Classroom if They Have ADHD

A classroom environment can be challenging for children with ADHD, but there are proactive strategies that you and your child can implement to help prepare your child for the upcoming school year. Some tips include:

  • Get Involved – Teachers can expect at least one of their students to have ADHD and they will do their best to accommodate them. You also have the power to help your child succeed by staying in communication with your child’s teacher. Let them know up front what kinds of challenges your child may experience in the classroom.
  • Create a Set of Goals – Develop a behavior plan that includes goals that help define a clear structure and expectations for your child. Help your child stick to this plan by giving them positive reinforcement and predetermined rewards.
  • Help Manage Distractibility – If your child does not yet have an IEP, ask your child’s teacher to break longer tasks into shorter segments and seat them away from a door or a window to keep them from getting distracted.  
  • Utilize Special Education Programs – For some students with ADHD special education programs such as a 504 plan or an individualized education plan (IEP) may be necessary. These vary from student to student but may involve private rooms free of distractions for testing and even one on one help with a special education teacher.

For some children with severe ADHD medication can be prescribed to help. It’s important to make sure your child receives an official diagnosis and treatment plan from a qualified doctor. Book an online appointment with a PlushCare doctor to learn more about the best treatment options for your child’s ADHD.

PlushCare takes content accuracy seriously so we can be your trusted source of medical information. Most articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.D.s, NPs, or NDs. Click here to meet the healthcare professionals behind the blog.

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