Behavior Chart Ideas for Students with ADHD

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are working on helping your students with ADHD develop better behavior, you might want to incorporate behavior charts. This lesson gives you some ideas for behavior charts that work for students with ADHD.

Using a Behavior Chart

As a teacher, you are highly likely to work with at least some students who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Many students with ADHD are strong learners and wonderful members of a classroom community. Because of their challenges with attention, though, these same students can have very difficult behaviors in the classroom.

One thing you can do to help your students with ADHD modify their behaviors is work with behavior charts. A behavior chart is a dynamic document that lets you and your student keep track of positive behaviors over a certain period of time. Behavior charts usually target one or two desired behaviors; focusing on more can be overwhelming. Students often work toward rewards by earning a certain number of stars or stickers in their behavior charts.

When students have ADHD, it is important to keep their behavior charts realistic, manageable, and designed for success. The ideas in this lesson will help you make meaningful behavior charts for your students. Each idea is also followed by a brief description and an example of the goals on the behavior chart.

Desk Checklist

Many students with ADHD struggle with transitions into school at the beginning of the day as well as out of school at the day's end. Consider a behavior chart that the student can tape to his or her desk or locker. This kind of behavior chart is in the student's hands and doubles as a checklist.

You might state the goals on the behavior chart as follows:

  • Lucy will remember to take everything she needs out of her backpack in the morning and put the things where they belong before getting started with her morning work.
  • Lucy will pack up everything she needs to do her homework in the afternoon.

Each time Lucy successfully meets one of these goals, she would receive a check mark or star in a grid. As a teacher, you would determine the number of check marks Lucy needs to earn before she receives a prize.

Impulse Control

Some students with ADHD might require a behavior chart that works in smaller time increments. Particularly if your students struggle with impulse control, you will want to start with very low intervals of time. Try to define two desired and attainable goals related to impulse control for these students and write them on top of a piece of paper.

For example, you could write:

  • Avery will raise his hand before talking during meetings and lessons.
  • Avery will keep his hands in his lap when he is not raising them to be called on.

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