Students with ADHD are capable of great success in middle and high school. They tend to be creative, energetic, and daring. There are, however, some common obstacles that they have to overcome, and here are five tried-and-true strategies that students with ADHD can use to leverage their strengths in school:
*Structure long-term work.
It’s particularly important for middle and high school students with ADHD to have an airtight system for keeping track of long-term assignments. They need to use an organizational system such as a paper planner or a computer calendar to write down all nightly assignments.
In addition, they need to break down multistep projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Students may require the assistance of a parent, teacher, or tutor to scaffold these skills until these tasks become second nature.
*Use bursts of energy to get homework done.
Children with ADHD need to understand the contours of their own energy levels and make use of the times they feel energized to complete the majority of their homework. Some students need to get their work done in school or right after school before their medication wears off.
Students may also need to do serious work after exercising. A 20-minute walk or jog provides a burst of concentration that can help students to get work done.
*Understand small steps that can help.
Students with ADHD often make small mistakes that bring down their grades, even if they truly understand the larger concepts. They need to understand the small steps that can lead to much better grades. For example, students with ADHD often make careless mistakes in math such as forgetting negative and positive signs. Realizing that their mistakes are often small and correctable in nature can help students take a few simple steps to drastically improve their grades. Students often simply need to remind themselves to slow down and check their work to catch these types of small errors.
*Take tests strategically.
Students with ADHD can find themselves unable to show what they know on tests because they don’t work though a plan for test-taking. They may get hung up on one particular question or fail to budget their time appropriately. They need to take a minute to look over entire tests and decide how to allocate their time before beginning to work. During the test, they may need reminders from their teachers about how much time remains, and they may require gentle prompts to keep moving.
*Position yourself well.
Students need to think about where they can best concentrate in the classroom. Usually, they should position themselves near the teacher and the board and away from distracting classmates. They should also keep themselves busy in class by taking notes so that they feel less tempted to stray from the material.
Dr. Blythe Grossberg has worked as a learning specialist in New York City for the past thirteen years. Formerly the Upper School learning specialist at the Collegiate School, she has worked with students in grades 5-12 and college students at top-flight private schools and at magnet and other public schools. Her clients include students with study-skills deficits and learning disorders such as ADD, Asperger's Syndrome, and dyslexia. She also helps students prepare for standardized tests, including the ISEE/SSAT, SHSAT, PSAT, and SAT, and she works with high-school juniors and seniors to prepare their college essays and applications. She is also the co-founder of a new tutoring companycalled Themba Tutors- www.ThembaTutors.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org