Would My ADHD Child Benefit From a Tutor?


Tutoring can improve your ADHD child's school performance in a number of ways, making attention and organizational issues less daunting and providing the tools for academic success. Use these guidelines to determine if a tutor may be right for your child.

Signs That a Tutor May Help Your ADHD Child

ADHD can cause ongoing difficulties in school, but sometimes, your child's struggles can go beyond everyday attention regulation issues. The following warning signs referenced in ADDitude Magazine may indicate that your child could use a tutor's help, a decision that could help him or her turn despair and frustration into confident achievement.

Slipping Grades

A slow, steady decline in test scores and class grades is a measurable clue that your child needs academic guidance. Since many school districts now offer parents and guardians online access to homework status and test scores, you don't have to wait until the end of the semester before realizing that your child needs help.

Too Much Time on Half-Done Homework

Your child is spending several hours a night on homework—yet still turning in shoddy assignments. While your child may be trying his or her hardest, you may still need to seek some special assistance to help your struggling student make the mark.

Test Anxiety

Does your child seem especially worked up the night before a test? Does he or she complain of feeling dizzy or having a headache or stomach ache?

Or maybe your child just seems edgy to you. Or keeps talking about how classmates and friends are all going to ace the upcoming test—while he or she is going to fail miserably.

Children with ADHD can be more prone to test anxiety.
If you're noticing this behavior in your child, there's a good chance he or she has test anxiety. A recent study in the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment found that students with ADHD are more likely to suffer test anxiety, a challenge that a tutor could teach them to overcome.

Increase in Disruptive Classroom Behavior

At your last parent-teacher conference, did the teacher indicate that your child was acting out more than normal, distracting other students with high-energy antics or off-topic chatter? Your child's worsening behavior may be due to the distress of falling behind academically.

Wavering Confidence

Maybe your child seems more hesitant than before, especially in the academic arena. Children who once eagerly answered questions in class but now shy away may be starting to doubt their own abilities. They might be having a harder time keeping up in class and don't want to embarrass themselves in front of the other students.

Unwillingness to Go to School

There are several reasons why children may drag their heels when it's time to run for the school bus. Once you've eliminated some of the other possible causes, consider that your child may find schoolwork overwhelming; if that's the case, a tutor could help him or her overcome some of this reluctance.

How Different Types of Tutoring Can Help

There are a few different kinds of tutoring, as outlined in this table from For a child with ADHD, these three types of tutoring may be particularly helpful: remediation, maintenance, and support.


If your child has started to fall behind with schoolwork, don't lose hope. Remedial tutoring can help get students back on track with their lessons. Working in a small group, or one-on-one with a tutor, your child will have the opportunity to revisit difficult lessons and work through them at his or her own pace. The tutor can try different strategies from those used in the classroom to help your child master what was missed.

Remedial tutoring can help an ADHD child who is falling behind in class.

Remedial tutoring doesn't just cover specific topics in your child's curriculum. It's also used to shore up basic skills, such as reading and arithmetic. The tutor may use batteries of tests, such as the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities and Achievement, to gauge your child's abilities and measure scholastic aptitude. In this way, the tutor can gain a deeper understanding of which teaching techniques will be the most effective for your child.


Your child may be working at grade level—but just barely. Maintenance tutoring can be particularly beneficial for students who are barely keeping their heads above water in the classroom.

In this style of tutoring, the learning professional works with your child to reinforce successes and help him or her identify more efficient ways of studying. It can be a preventative measure: keeping your child from falling behind in schoolwork, improving comprehension of new material, and teaching more productive ways to complete assignments.


A combination of remediation and maintenance techniques and support tutoring can help children when they're working at level in some subjects, but starting to slip in others. More time will be spent bolstering difficult areas. However, tutors can also help them balance their efforts. In this way, they won't gain ground in some subjects, only to lose it where they'd previously been successful.

General Benefits of Tutoring

Whether your child receives remedial, maintenance, or support tutoring, he or she will enjoy several benefits from working with a tutor. One-on-one attention is one of the advantages of tutoring for ADHD children. Tutoring allows your child to get the full attention of the instructor, which is generally impractical in a classroom environment. When children work one-on-one with tutors, the tutors can quickly spot when students lose focus and bring their attention back to the topic at hand, before they stray too far.

Your ADHD child may need a tutor if they consistently turn in incomplete homework.
Another benefit of tutoring is that it can be tailored to your child's unique learning style. While your child's regular teacher must write a lesson plan that can work for dozens of students at once, your child's tutor will design the lesson plan to meet only his or her specific needs.

Suzie Dalien, M.Ed., the co-founder of Special Education Resource, describes the additional benefits of tutoring in her article ''10 Benefits Of Special Education Tutoring For Children With Learning Disabilities.'' According to Dalien, tutoring can result in increased student confidence and a willingness to ask for help. In addition, Dalien points out, individualized sessions give your child's tutor the chance to identify needed learning accommodations.

Tutoring: A Resource for Scholastic Success

Tutoring can bolster your ADHD child
Tutoring can improve your child's grades and foster future academic achievement. Perhaps more importantly, tutoring can boost your ADHD child's self-esteem and give them more confidence in their own scholastic abilities—and that's a gift of learning that can last a lifetime.

By Michelle Baumgartner
September 2017
k-12 adhd & school

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