Ways to Help ADHD Kids Follow Directions
Students with ADHD sometimes struggle to slow down, listen, and follow instructions especially with so many classroom distractions.
Here's how teachers can help them better follow directions.
- Wait until it is quiet, and you have students’ attention, before giving instructions.
- Read written directions to the class and have students colour, highlight, circle, or underline key words.
- Focus on the behaviour you want to encourage in students not on what they are doing wrong. For instance, “Look at the chart” or “Turn to your assignment calendar.” instead of “stop fidgeting” or “Stop looking here and there”
- Give complete directions.
- State the direction, remain silent, and wait 10 seconds for the child to comply. If a child still doesn’t begin the task, address him by name and repeat the command.
- Be specific when issuing a command - Instead of saying “behave appropriately” or “do careful work,” say, “sit in your chairs,” “book open to page 21,” and “clear your desk.”
- Provide multisensory directions such as visual cues and graphics, along with verbal explanations. Place visual reminders, like the class schedule or a rules-and-routines chart, in plain view in the classroom.
- Assign a classmate to clarify directions.
- Avoid multiple-step - whenever possible, give one instruction at a time.
Dr. Rituparna Ghosh
Consultant Clinical Psychologist