Children with ADHD may have a hard time paying attention, sitting still, organizing their tasks and materials, managing time and prioritizing work, and managing their emotions. Distance learning may be exacerbating these difficulties. Here are 5 tips for helping your child with ADHD participate in distance learning.
1. Set up Flexible Seating Options
Allow flexibility in their learning environment at home. Provide different seating options such as a move ‘n’ sit cushion, standing desk, t-stool/wobble chair, theraband on chair legs, or let your child lay prone on elbows (on their tummy) to improve attention. Allow them to chew gum or use fidget tools.
2. Help with Organization
- Start with a daily visual schedule with each class or task they have to do. They can check each item off as they complete it.
- Have materials bins and put a visual labels on each–Pencils, Paper, Scissors, Glue, etc.
- Have “TO DO” and “DONE” folders or bins. Have your TO DO assignments in one side of a folder or bin and when your child completes a worksheet or assignment, move it to the DONE side of the folder.
- Color code assignments by subject. Use a red math journal, put math worksheets in a red folder, and use a red book cover for the math book.
- Use graphic organizers for writing assignments and note taking. Understood.org has great tips here.
3. Get Ready, Do, Done for Executive Functioning
Get Ready, Do, Done (from Sarah Ward) is a wonderful tools to support executive functioning including planning, task initiation, and task completion. Plan backwards to move forward. Start with DONE-what will it look like when the task is complete? Then, move to DO-list the steps in a task in order and finally move to GET READY– what materials do I need? Once a child plans out the task, THEN they can move forward-gathering items, completing the steps, and turning their “Done” work in.
4. Behavior Management
Use positive reinforcement such as a token economy or star chart to reward expected behaviors. Find motivating reinforcers (e.g. outside play, 10 minutes screen time, board game, favorite snack, favorite toy, etc.) that your child will work for.
5. Provide instructions in a Variety of Ways
Repeat verbal directions, keep instructions clear and simple, break down multi-step tasks into smaller parts, and provide visual checklists.
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