Types of Learning in Children with ADHD

Children with ADHD cannot listen to the lessons sufficiently at school due to attention problems, they cannot work efficiently at home, and they may misunderstand what they know in exams. Over time, these children’s self-confidence is negatively affected due to negative and constant criticism and gradually decreasing academic success. The way the lessons are presented, assignments, examination systems, and other assessment tools are not suitable for these children, adding to the existing difficulties. As a result, even if they have normal or above-normal intelligence, the school success of these children cannot reach a level compatible with their capacity.

ADHD is related to the failure of the centers in the brain that control attention and behavior. The child’s behavior is not caused by spoilage, disrespect, parental inability to discipline. The reason why these children “know what to do but can’t do what they know” is because the behavior control system in the brain does not work well. Teachers’ attitudes towards these children and their teaching styles are the most important factors for their success.


For children with ADHD, movement does not impair learning. On the contrary, it is necessary for learning. Behaviors such as playing with the pencil, fidgeting, scribbling, holding any object in the hand during the lesson help the student to maintain the alertness of the mind at a higher level; so the student listens better and works on the task. If these children’s small movements do not disrupt their learning, these behaviors should not be prevented. Assigning these children to activities that require the least passivity in the classroom gives positive results. Children with ADHD are mostly children who learn visually or learn kinesthetically (by doing). They cannot learn easily in traditional-type lessons that require passively listening to their teachers. They need more activities that include visual cues to cope with skills such as mathematics, summary writing, and book-telling. Children with ADHD can be innovative, intuitive, and have diverse learning styles. Teachers’ efforts to diversify learning types yield very positive results.


  1. Use of visual-verbal cues and reminders:Narration using pictures is much more effective than narration using only words.

    1. Making visual presentations on the taught topic: It will be very instructive for the teacher to present the subject visually in these children. Uses overhead projectors or other reflectors, is more face-to-face with the class, uses colored pencils to show important information .

    2. Keeping important information on the subject on the board throughout the lesson: If important information is always in the same placement on the board, students know where to find it. It is more appropriate to rank the information in numbers rather than letters of the alphabet.

    3. Keeping relevant keywords visible: Keywords should hang on the board, on posters or where they can be easily seen in the classroom as long as the topic is covered. Posters are important visual reminders. Students can visualize the poster in their minds during the exam. Different pictures allow the student to place the subject in his memory more easily.

    4. Using graphic editors:Graphics facilitate the visualization of concepts, the concretization of abstract concepts, and their recall.

  2. Minimizing passive learning using only verbal transmission: The most quickly forgotten information is the information obtained by passively listening. Even if the topic is interesting, students cannot constantly focus their attention on listening. Teachers use about 100–200 words per minute. Even a child who can focus his attention actively can only listen to 50-100 words per minute. In addition, studies show that while 70% of students’ attention is focused in the first 10 minutes, this rate drops to 20% in the last 10 minutes. If these children are only passive listeners, they cannot use their potential for their own learning and active learning cannot take place.

  3. Using active learning methods

  4. Question and answer usage

  5. Use of brainstorming

  6. Teaching reconsideration skills:It can be provided to look at the titles written in capital letters about each chapter, the texts under the pictures, and the summaries at the end of the chapter.

  7. Using pair learning

  8. Having two students teach each other

  9. Using the group response: The teacher removes a student with the correct answer. He can then use the “chorus answer” by having everyone repeat the correct answer. It is a method that gives students with ADHD less opportunity to daydream and be distracted.


Among all academic skills, children with ADHD have the most difficulty in writing. Classical exams and written assignments are the jobs they avoid the most. Computer-based homework applications are more effective with test-based exams.

  1. Tips to facilitate note-taking can be taught:Using abbreviations for common words increases the speed of note taking.

  2. Key points can be identified : Ask the student, “This is important, save it.” warning is given.

  3. They can be made to take notes in two columns:The main idea is written in the first column, and the details about the main idea are written in the second column.

  4. Note taking can be reduced: For these children, both listening and note-taking is a difficult task. When writing, they do not focus on what is being said in class. Giving the student guide lecture notes can reduce the need for note taking.


Homework should be collected, checked, and discussed to show that the student’s effort is taken into account. It should enrich the learning experiences of students by giving them the opportunity to be creative and should encourage the student to research.

  • These children can complete an assignment in at least twice as long as other children would complete in 1 hour. The teacher can change the amount of homework or the content of homework according to the difference between the approximate completion time of an assignment and how long it takes a child with ADHD to complete that assignment.

  • Reducing written assignments is very important for these children. Ways to reduce written homework:

1. Mathematics problems or questions are not asked to be rewritten from the book, only the answers are written. The aim is to check whether the student knows the answer, not whether he has copied the question.

2. Instead of writing all the problems or sentences, they are asked to fill in the blanks.

3. Creative activities can be given instead of written homework. He may be allowed to record sound for a book narration, to paint a poem, to build a model.

  • Long-term projects and term papers can be divided into parts. Problems arise in long-term projects and assignments due to deficiencies in skills such as making a plan, implementing the plan, and setting the time. The reason these children take these assignments slowly is because they are so overwhelmed by large, multi-step projects.

1. The material to be read can be divided with colored paper clips according to the length of the section. Thus, the student sees how close he is to finishing.

2. Assignments can be divided into sections. Student assignments are divided into sections. When the student has finished, he takes a break.

3. Long-term assignments can be divided into sections, and a separate date can be determined for each. The part of researching the term paper and collecting the necessary information, writing the draft part, the deadlines to be submitted in its final form are determined from the beginning and the student is guided and followed up in complying with these dates.

  • Giving homework that teaches thinking not only improves the child’s thinking skills, but also children with ADHD do these homeworks more willingly.

  • If the homework is suitable for the speed and capacity of the child, it is possible to produce quality studies.


  • They should be seated in the classroom where their attention will be least distracted, and a calm environment should be provided during the exam.

  • Exam questions should be prepared in an understandable language, the predicate of the question can be given in a darker color and underlined.

  • Classical exams that require impromptu invoking information are more difficult than exams that require knowing information. Test-style exams that stimulate memory are more appropriate for students with ADHD.

  • Multiple choice or true-false questions can be asked, word banks can be used. It is recommended to use word banks containing 2 columns that require matching/comparison of the correct answer. Because stored information is not easily remembered, a word bank is a good way to accurately measure their knowledge. Words “provide visual prompting” to students.

  • In classical exams, different question options can be offered that can be substituted for each other. The child answers the question whichever he thinks he can do. For example, the question about the reading passage in the Turkish lesson may have two different options.

  • It is necessary to develop grading methods that do not punish the student’s learning problem.

  • The student can earn extra points by completing work or projects, correcting mistakes in the exam. This method should be used especially with children who are at risk of wedge in the classroom. If possible, creative projects can be given to collect points.


You may think that you will be unfair to other students because of the approaches you will apply to children with ADHD. In other words, the teaching methods you will apply for these children, the homework approaches, the arrangements you will make about the exams, etc. You may think that the changes will attract the attention of other children and that they may question this situation and want the same changes. However, it is undeniable that every child is different from each other and the approaches you will implement for a child with special needs will ensure the integration of these individuals into education and contribute to their success rates. The following explanation of the questions posed to you about the differences you have implemented by your students may be of great help to you. “You all have your own characteristics, positive and negative sides. You have to help and understand each other for these.” Making changes in the classroom and school in line with the student’s characteristics affects the student’s behavior and performance. A negative school and classroom environment causes students to experience anger, frustration, and stress. These emotions reduce attention and concentration, affect learning, increase hyperactivity, lower self-esteem.

The Most Common Causes of Children’s Unwanted Behavior at School

  1. The lack of a warm and one-to-one relationship between the student and the teacher.

  2. Uncertain and incomprehensible expectations.

  3. Lessons are taught with passive, monotonous and repetitive methods.

  4. Assigning tasks beyond the student’s attention span.

Warm One-to-One Relationship with Teacher

For children with ADHD, such a relationship is a prerequisite for both academic success and adaptive behavior. With a warm relationship, you will be able to prevent excessive behavior that he will do to be popular in the eyes of his friends because he is criticized for every behavior he does and becomes humiliated in front of the class.

  1. You can create chat environments that will try to get to know the student personally, and eat at the same table.

  2. You can give feedback after positive behavior.

  3. You can reveal the areas where the student is strong and do well and assign responsibilities in these areas.

  4. Using humor, you can talk about how their undesirable behavior can turn into positive traits.

Classroom Management

Class rule:

  1. Involve students in the selection of rules.

  2. Start with as few rules as possible.

  3. Make up the rules from positive sentences. “Do not make noise after entering the classroom.” Instead of “Take out the necessary materials for that lesson after you enter the classroom.” Etc.

  4. Rules should hang with pictures in the visible part of the classroom.

  5. To make the rules work well, harmonious behavior is praised, while minor inconsistencies should be ignored or gently warned.


You should use as little as possible in order for the warning to work in case of non-compliance with the rules.

  1. Looking into the eyes of the child who breaks the rule is the simplest but most effective stimulus.

  2. If the student is not looking at the teacher, the name should be said, the picture showing the rule should be pointed and nothing else should be said.

  3. When verbal warning is given, a calm and determined tone should be used and anger, shouting, ridicule, contempt should not be used, the child should not be directed directly, only what he is expected to do should be expressed. “Start writing now.” Etc.

  4. It may also be sufficient to just stand in front of him or touch his turn while giving a warning.

What Can Be Done About Student Impulsivity

  1. Arrange the natural and logical consequences that will be applied in case of breaking the rules. Results should be applied after the event is over and calm is established.

  2. Be fair and consistent. Always react the same way to the same wrong behavior.

  3. Try to remain calm as soon as the student loses control. Avoid giving long advice, logical reasons. Do not get into a power struggle with the student.

  4. Provide simple visual cues in her notebook or on the desk to get her thinking before she acts.

  5. Use humor to relieve tension. The use of humor diverts the student’s attention and prevents their uncontrolled behavior.

  6. Investigate alternative solutions to resolve conflicts.

  7. Give feedback and reward on behavior that reflects appropriate impulse control.


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