ADHD is the most common form of behavioural disorder in the UK.

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Features of ADHD

  • Not everyone experiences ADHD in the same way. It is usually diagnosed by a medical expert, after observations and discussions with the child and family.
  • Behaviours include a short attention span, restlessness, being easily distracted, and constant fidgeting, poor self-organisation
  • To gain a diagnosis of ADHD the child or young person would generally display the behaviours consistently for at least a period of 6 months, in a least two different settings, e.g. home and school.
  • Life is considerably difficult on several levels, i.e. socially and academically.

Treatments for ADHD

  • There are several medical treatments for ADHD, all of which should be accompanied by psychological, educational and social therapies.
  • Medication can be prescribed by a psychiatrist and monitored by a GP.
  • The medication allows periods of time where someone with ADHD can concentrate better and be less impulsive; they may feel calmer and better able to learn new skills.
  • Programmes for children and families can also be helpful. For example, active social skills training can better equip a child or young person to manage socially and at school.
  • Parent training and education programmes can help families work together on behaviour management techniques.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy programmes (CBT) may help a child or young person manage their impulsive behaviour and help develop concentration skills.

Supporting students with ADHD

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  • Clear classroom routines
  • A well-organised learning environment
  • Clear classroom rules
  • Advanced warning and planning for out of classroom activities.
  • Buddy support
  • Home -school diary/ communication system

Support for written tasks

  • Limit amount of work per page
  • Allow extra time for completing tasks.
  • Plan in work breaks
  • Allow student to type or to use speech-to-text software.
  • Reduce the length of written assignment

Behaviour management strategies

  • Lots of praise to reinforce positive behaviour
  • Use of choice as a reward
  • Seat away from distractions (door, window)
  • Use of timers to help structure work tasks
  • Use clear and direct language or discrete (agreed) non-verbal cues for redirection if they become distracted.


  • Making and keeping friends can be difficult, a buddy system and planned break-time activities can help reduce feelings of isolation and help develop social skills.
  • A social skills group or a chance to practice ahead of an important event or situation can be helpful.

More information

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