Homework Strategies & Accommodations for Students with ADHD

Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

Homework completion can be an uphill battle for any teacher. Some specific populations of your students might struggle disproportionately, such as students with ADHD. Today, we'll learn different strategies and accommodations you can use to help your students with ADHD.

What Is ADHD?

Imagine being a student. You come to class and are excited to get started. But the first thing the teacher tells you to do is take out your homework. What homework? You try to look through your bag but it's a mess. Halfway through searching, you get distracted by a neighbor and stop looking altogether. Before you know it, you're in trouble both for being distracted and missing your homework. Class doesn't seem so exciting anymore.

This scenario describes a day in the life of a student with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Students with this condition struggle with executive functioning skills, like time management, organization, focus, and planning. This is a recipe for a bad day at school. Students with ADHD are frequently distracted and often forget their homework.

But, as a teacher, you know how important homework completion is. Today, we're going to look at some strategies and accommodations you can try to help increase homework completion for your students with ADHD.

Strategies at School

Although homework is to be done at home, school is the first place of intervention for homework completion. Let's look at some accommodations you can try in your classroom first.

Keep It Organized

Students with ADHD can be very disorganized. They often lack the executive functioning skills needed to organize both physical materials and abstract concepts, like time in their head. You can help your students by modeling good organizational behavior and keeping your classroom organized.

Clearly post your homework assignments with the due date on the board in the same place every day. You can have a specific section on the board for homework along with your objectives. However, it also helps to have a calendar in the room. Mark off homework assignments and larger projects on the calendar. This helps students with ADHD visualize exactly how much time they have to complete their work.

Clear bins to turn in homework or to hold old homework assignments can also help. Turning in homework and getting any homework that is needed should be part of the routines of the classroom. Making homework a reliable routine will help your students remember it more than simply passing it out at the last minute each day as students leave.

Homework Charts

Who doesn't love stickers? Even older children typically adore the chance to get a sticker by their name. You can take sticker collection to a new level by creating a homework chart. Homework charts have each of your students' names and the assignments given across the top in a grid. When a student completes an assignment, they get to put a sticker in that box. You can pass out the stickers to your students so they can take part in tracking their progress. A homework chart is a great way to visualize exactly how many homework assignments a student has turned in.

Sample homework chart
homework chart

Homework Trackers and Folders

Having a chart in the classroom isn't enough since homework moves around with students all day. There is ample time for them to leave the assignment somewhere or for it to disappear in the abyss of a messy backpack. One strategy to help with this is to use a homework tracker and a specific folder just for homework. Homework trackers can be specific for your class, or they can be a sheet that your student uses for every class. They include the assignment and when it is due.

The homework tracker and assigned homework go in a specific homework folder. You can designate one side of the folder for incoming homework and the other side for homework that is done and to be turned in. This way, students have a visual check of how much work needs to be done versus what is done already.

Homework folders help students visualize how much there is to do versus how much work they have done.
homework folder

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