Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder - Support Strategies for Schools
Strategies for Teachers in Schools
Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
• A key person in school to collate information and communicate with
family and other agencies.
• Practical support strategies written in positive language for all staff
working with the pupil.
• A realistic system of recording the pupil’s behaviour which is clear and
• A system for communicating with the parents/carers and supporting
their work at home with the pupil.
• A clear protocol in school for administering prescribed medication and
monitoring its effects.
• A consensus about the specific patterns of behaviour for which the
child needs support and guidance.
• Caring for the carer. Teaching a pupil with ADHD is demanding, being
both physically and emotionally draining. Ensure that there is support
for the teacher and/or teaching assistant.
All of the above needs to be recorded and incorporated into the school’s
existing Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2001). This is a staged
process of support for children with special educational needs.
The learning environment for the child with difficulties with attention.
• Organisational factors and the learning environment.
• Use routines so that the day becomes predictable.
• Use visual cues and a visual timetable.
• Use small components (chunks) of learning.
How do you check on whether the child is flitting from one thing to another?
Help the nursery child stay at one play activity and extend range of play with
active adult support. Present work in short chunks.
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Where is the best place? ‘It would be really good to have you sitting here
because you can do such good listening/ answer a special question - - ‘
Consider where the child actually manages to listen best. It may be at a table,
or on a chair rather than on the floor.
Minimize waiting time. Queues and lining up are difficult times. Ensure the
child knows where s/he should be and has a regular place in the line. Turn
taking is hard too so ensure the child has a visual reminder.
Targets and strategies to help in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
The Foundation Stage
We want children to be able to take advantage of the learning opportunities
so we want them to:
• Pay attention.
• Focus on a task.
• Work with others.
What might we expect of children of four, five, six, seven and eight? The
Foundation Stage Profile lists what a child should do:
• Show an interest through observation or participation.
• Show a high level of involvement in self chosen activity.
• Talk through an activity.
• Listen and respond.
Some examples for younger children, (Foundation stage 1-3)
• To ask for my tidy up jobs and then do them.
• To play with (adult first, then child supported by adult) – water play,
sand play, construction and role play for 5 minutes.
• To tell Y (friend) about my game.
• To sit in group time for 5 minutes, watching the teacher (may need
adult support – teaching assistant or teacher) and listening.
• To tell teaching assistant about someone else’s news after group time
or something in group time.
• To answer a question in group time.
• To tell the adult about the story.
• To ask an adult what she’s been doing and then tell another ( Mum,
Dad, TA, Nan).
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Key Stage 1
In the case of an eight year old we would want much the same but for longer
periods, and with a greater focus on:
• Listening and responding.
• On independent work.
• On taking greater account of others.
• To start to self monitor.
So the long term outcomes to aim for would be:-
• To listen and respond in formal teaching situations (literacy and
• To describe how s/he has done something.
• To work independently at an activity.
• To take responsibility for parts of own learning/activity.
How can these be translated into small achievable but meaningful targets?
Examples for older children:-
• To be able to say what my group has to do in the literacy/numeracy
• To be able to tell someone what the first part of the lesson was about
(e.g. book in literacy, adding/ number line in numeracy).
• To be able to listen quietly and answer questions for part of the whole
class teaching time (5 minutes, 10 minutes).
• To finish a task, working with a friend on an activity for 10 minutes.
Encouraging the child to develop some self monitoring strategies: (good
practice for all children)
Help them to develop self-monitoring questions by using similar questions in
different situations. ‘How am I getting on?’ ‘What have I heard?’ ‘What have I
answered?’ ‘What have I understood?’ ‘Not understood?’ ‘What have I
finished?’ ‘Can I put a star on my target card for good listening? For good
working? For finishing?’
General strategies to encourage listening and responding:-
• Give the child time to think and answer. Don’t rush them.
• Try to be positioned on the same level as them – on the floor or at a
• Eye contact or joint/ shared gaze.
• Cue them in - use their name, possibly a light touch on the arm.
• Be simple – short sentences and words. One bit of information or one
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• Use visual cues –pictures of nursery activities and the routines – play
outside, drinks, lunch. Use objects especially for news, or talking about
trips/activities. Puppets are useful and repetition of favourite stories.
Check to see if they have understood.
• Be pleased when the child wants to tell you something or has shown
• Hand round something for the talker (a key, shell, something special)
so that when you have the object you talk.
General strategies to help behaviour
Targets, Rules and Reminders
Targets should be achievable and the child needs to understand what they
are and to have visual and verbal reminders. Rewards should be consistent
and praise used frequently.
Keep rules really short and simple and based on class rules. Children are
likely to forget them so prompts are useful. A visual reminder of the target on
the desk, star or tick chart, the marble jar or whatever you like to use to
remind the children about what you expect
Positive support and encouraging relationships
Comment on how good s/he is. Start the session with a positive comment and
say why you’re pleased. Encourage positive peer group relationships.
Provide a friend or small group to work with – useful to vary the friend/group.
Positive reinforcement at regular intervals from the teacher and TA.
‘How have you done so far this morning’? ‘Show me what you’ve been doing’.
Parental support in reinforcing what you’re doing. ‘What did you like about the
story’?’ Who did you play with today’?’ What games did you play’?
Positive management in praising the behaviour you want to promote and try
to ignore low level negative or irritating behaviour
Remember it will take time to try and change something which is part of the
child’s behaviour pattern – 6 weeks or longer usually.
Traffic light systems: child has the card next to them while working – green is
OK, amber I might need help, red – I’m losing it.
Star charts: award a star for each time they achieve a target, or for each short
successful session. 5 stars could be exchanged for a sun and so many suns
get a reward. Remember that if the system is a daily one and the child has
had a bad first session they will see there is little point in continuing – so
make sure there’s a way for them to earn back rewards in the next session.
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Child/star of the day: everybody has a turn and it helps class identity and the
feeling that all are valued in the class. Usually has some special privileges or
jobs; you could consider a circle of positive behaviour during the day when
everyone says something positive about the child.