Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Academics

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) can toughen a child’s chances of academic success. Children with ADHD are usually described as unfocused, disorganized, disruptive and fidgety. This does not mean a child with ADHD is a bad student, but he or she will probably struggle to finish assignments on time or retain information taught in class. However, there is hope and it does not require pumping kids up with medications like Ritalin or Adderall. Instead, with a bit more discipline and particular study habits, a child with ADHD can be equally as successful as children who don’t have the disorder.

A short attention span is the most well-known characteristic of those with ADHD. So paying attention to a teacher talking about geometry or biology for a half hour or longer is often a challenge. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. The key is to get the notes down, or to highlight a worksheet which includes important information. Highlighters can be extremely helpful for students with ADHD because they are a bright, visual tool.

A very effective way to help stuff important information into students’ heads is to review it again and again. If a particular student has all the information written down or highlighted, she may only retain so much of it come test time. However, it is not impossible for her to retain it all, given the right techniques.

Instead of long study periods, study with your child in small intervals, offering many breaks. Never wait until the night before a test to “cram,” because a child with ADHD will probably not retain everything. Quiz your child frequently, asking a few questions here and a few there. This way, you reduce the odds of your child feeling overwhelmed and pressured.

Rewriting notes can be an extremely effective method of studying for students with ADHD. A good strategy is to have students rewrite each page of notes daily, for a week or so. This way, the students will not only be rereading the information again and again, but they will be forced to pay attention to the details because they will have to relay them onto the next sheet of paper.

If your student is studying alone, encourage him to read the notes aloud or to move around while studying. This will help keep him alert.

Another major problem caused by ADHD is disorganization. Instead of notebooks, have your child try binders or folders to keep his notes and assignments in. This way he is free to rearrange pages and toss out anything he no longer needs. This will help reduce distractions a bit as well. The child can take out the one piece of paper he is working with and leave the others aside.

Try to develop a routine with your child that involves regular studying. However, remember that large blocks of academic time will not help much. Incorporate short and frequent study periods into the weekly and daily routines. Also, have your child write a to-do list or list of goals. That way, when he finishes something, he can cross it off his list and feel accomplished and motivated to move on to the next priority. Procrastination is unacceptable and will cause a student with ADHD to fall behind. Instill work-before-play habits into your child.

Having a child with ADHD can be a challenge at times, but ADHD is the type of learning disability that can be dealt with without medication. Test drive these study tips and remember to always encourage your child when she receives good grades and test scores.