Educating Children with ADHD Is Most Successful in a Brain Friendly Environment

Educating children with ADHD is most successful in a low stress, brain friendly environment. Activities for children with ADHD are fun and beneficial for all students so teaching the ADHD child becomes less about coping with ADHD and more about educating children.

Characteristics of ADHD are an inability to focus, sit still, and be quiet. In typical desk-and-row classrooms where the teacher does most of the talking, these characteristics spell trouble for the child with ADHD. He can’t sit still and be quiet, and when he focuses his attention on trying to do those things, he is unable to focus on what the teacher is saying. He really can’t win.

Educating children with ADHD in a neuro cognitive classroom does not mean isolating them from their peers. It does means creating an effective environment that will support learning for everyone.

Students are expected to talk in centers and cooperative groups, and there is freedom of movement and lower stress. Lowering the lighting and using filters on overhead fluorescent bulbs tends to calm down the entire room. If you don’t believe it, just read the reviews for the light filters at Amazon!

Playing Baroque music softly in the background seems to regulate my children, and they tell me that it masks noises from the hallway which can distract them. So Bach and Vivaldi help all of my students focus – not just the children with ADHD and ADD. The presence of a steady beat is in large part responsible, and a metronome played quietly at times may also help. Since resting heart rate is 60 beats per minute, this is the setting I always use.

Activities for Children With ADHD

Coordination Activities – Focus and attention problems are often significantly improved through the systematic use of physical coordination activities. Learning to jump rope individually, establishing a steady beat by double hopping, is one of the most successful of these.

Focus Games – I have found that mazes and games with balls are particularly effective for the high energy kids in my classroom who have difficulty focusing. In addition to building focus, games with balls done with the entire class builds a sense of family which helps ADHD kids feel that they aren’t so different after all.

Clapping Games – The presence of a steady beat regulates most children so clapping games are perfect for educating ADHD children because they involve coordinated movement and music.

Fiddle Faddle

Hacky sacks may help ADHD students concentrate when given one to hold during class.

A high energy high school soccer player once told me that holding a tennis ball in class helped him concentrate because it gave him something to do with his hands while he listened. Since the best ideas come from students, I paid attention and decided the best choice for my class would be something that would not bounce or be a distraction.

I settled on these soft Hacky Sacks from Oriental Trading which can be given to ADHD kids to fiddle with during class. I always explain to them that the purpose is to help them concentrate by keeping their hands busy and that if it should become airborn that I have to put it in my desk for the rest of the day.

It really has worked well for most of my kids, and it seems to improve their ability to focus. Thanks, J.P.!



Go to Effective Learning Environment from Educating Children with ADHD

Go to Cooperative Learning from Educating Children with ADHD




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Effective Learning Environment
An effective learning environment is key to helping children come to know. This means creating a learning centered environment that is brain friendly.


Cooperative Learning
Allowing children to work together has many benefits, and it is one of the best strategies for improving the memory of school aged children.


Children and Stress Management
School stress can negatively impact learning because children lose focus when they are under stress.


Brain Exercises and Coordination
Brain exercises and physical coordination are benefits of physical education because mind and body are connected. Certain physical coordination and occupational therapy activities support learning.


Focus Games
Focus games for children are helpful in building concentration skills. Teachers and parents can work together to identify the causes of focusing problems and teach kids how to focus.


Focus Problems
It is important to examine factors which could be responsible for focus problems and find solutions with parents as partners.




For more information on helping special needs children in the classroom I highly recommend