Instructional Strategies - ADD/ADHD


There is a range of inclusive teaching strategies that can assist all students to learn but there are some specific strategies that are useful in teaching a group which includes students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder.

In considering alternative forms of assessment, equal opportunity, not a guaranteed outcome, is the objective. You are not expected to lower standards to accommodate students with a disability, but rather are required to give them a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.

First Day

  • Include a statement in your course syllabus regarding accommodation issues for students with disabilities. See the Suggested Disability Statement for course syllabi.
  • Students who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD often find it helpful when the course syllabus is written with clearly defined assignment deadlines as organization may be challenging for them.
  • Invite students to self-identify on the first day of class by making a public statement such as: "Please contact me to discuss disability accommodations."

Lectures and Other Teaching Sessions

  • If a student appears to be distracted, it might be appropriate to recommend to the student that they sit in the front of the classroom, away from windows, doorways, heating/cooling systems, or any other sources of potential distraction.
  • Students with ADD/ADHD frequently find it difficult to stay on task for long periods of time. If a class is longer than the traditional, 50-60 minute session, then offering a break after 45 minutes would be helpful.
  • Keep instructions brief and uncomplicated as much as possible. When repeating instructions, repeat exactly without paraphrasing.
  • Clearly define course requirements, the dates of exams, and when assignments are due. Provide advance notice of any changes.
  • Present lecture information in a visual format (e.g. chalkboard, overheads, PowerPoint slides, handouts, etc.).
  • Use more than one way to demonstrate or explain information.
  • When teaching, state objectives, review previous lessons and summarize periodically.

Writing Assignments and Examinations

  • Provide assistance with proofreading written work. Stress organization and ideas rather than mechanics when grading in-class writing assignments.
  • Encourage the use of spell-check and grammar-assistive devices when appropriate to the course.

General Ideas

  • Break information into small steps while instructing on new tasks.
  • For students needing other academic assistance, remind them of campus services such as the Writing Center, and the Academic Support Center.
  • Providing review or study sheets for exams is helpful.
  • Allow time for clarification of directions and essential information.
  • Make instructional materials available in text form on FerrisConnect.
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, ask him or her as privately as possible without drawing attention to the student or the disability.
  • Contact >Disabilities Services for general ideas to help individual students.