Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

teaching adults with ADHD

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Joined: Jul 04, 2009
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Posted Jul 04, 2009 at 3:59:56 PM
Subject: teaching adults with ADHD

I am a post-secondary instructor of a technical program. I have a student that has been diagnosed with ADHD and is not doing well in the course. What can I do to improve the students chance for success in the course? How do I assess the best learning style for this student? This student is young (20) and has been diagnosed years ago but no treatment was given.

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Joined Jun 01, 2008
Posts: 26

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Posted:Jul 05, 2009 12:58:56 AM

Given the age, have you asked this student what they think would help them? Those with ADHD usually do best in a multi sensory environment. My son has ADHD and has a weakness in auditory processing and short term memory. He learns best when the teacher uses visuals while talking. He also needs repetition of the information to help him remember it better. If your school has a disability services office the student might consider talking to them about qualifying for accommodations.

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roz c
Joined Aug 17, 2009
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Posted:Aug 18, 2009 8:10:16 PM

I am an experienced teacher, am also completing an adult teaching degree and also have adult adhd. The majority of adhd people, are kinesthetic learners. So are very hands on, learn best by interating with learning material. The more channels (sound, text, visual) you can deliver material, the better the learning outcome. The more you can incoorporate the 3, the better for the learner. They are not doing well, as they are probably feeling very out of touch with the material, and are by now pretty insecure about it all, and its all become quite overwealming for them. Take the time to assess prior knowledge they have of the subject. Find out what they "DO" know, because it will be more than you think!! Include them in the delivery of teaching strategy for other learners. For example: get them to hand out paper, set up a learning area, ask them for their opinion in something. If you leave them alone, to sit idely, they will become increasingly bored, irritable, and disconnected from the class, from the information, from you as a teacher. Constantly make a point of focussing their attention onto something, but dont make it look like you are singleing them out either! Bit of a tricky balance!! But this can be done by spending quality one on one time with them, to ensure that they know that they are a valued member of the class. Engage with them frequently to "see where they are at" and take the lead from them with delivery of strategy.

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Joined Jan 15, 2010
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Posted:Jan 15, 2010 4:53:39 AM

Hi Roz C,

I am also an adult with ADD in Tasmania and would be interested in hearing from you :)

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Joined May 02, 2008
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Posted:Jan 17, 2010 8:22:46 PM

I agree that talking with the student would be helpful. Ask him what he likes to do in his spare time. What are his hobbies? People naturally gravitate toward activities that are satisfying to them and are most often consistent with their learning styles. Listen for clues as to how you can use some of his interests in your program.
If your school has a counseling program, ask if he would mind having some learning styles assessments. He may be willing to do so if he understands that you need the information to develop effective instruction for him.

It is true that many ADHD students are more actively engaged with hands-on learning, and many have difficulty writing. Consider oral tests, allowing projects in lieu of reports, use closed answer questions on tests and multiple choice. While you may not be able to avoid essays, try to offer alternative choices to your students when you can.

It is possible that your student is having a difficult time adjusting to the change in demands from high school to postsecondary. He may benefit from working in a study group to help. Here's an article on this:

Best of luck, and feel free to write me if I can offer further guidance at:


Ann Logsdon, Learning Disabilities Guide About.com About.com is a New York Times Company

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