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Top Tips for Teaching Students with ADHD Online

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Can I work online with students that have ADHD? I get asked this question a lot.

We have learned that working with any student online isn't easy. Teachers who are used to being alongside their students show empathy and have unforgettable teachable moments.

It's hard to get that back, especially when you have a wiggly student. Can you teach students with wiggles and students with ADHD?

You know those kids you have met that are surrounded by their toys? They might not have organized materials and want breaks nonstop. Frankly, they'd rather be playing than be part of your class.

Who can blame them? Try to recognize the compound effect of that sometimes. They could have been popped into the middle of their toy room to take lessons with you. So how can we be successful with students online who have ADHD or the wiggles? What do we need to do as educators to connect with these students and show that we care?

Simplify your Space

Student setup is crucial online. Of course, it all depends on the relationship you have built with a student; however, you want to simplify their space. That means they have minimal materials that they need to access. This also means staying in control of the lesson and not relying on them to bring their materials to the screen.

Build In Breaks

I can't say enough that our students are so wiggly for a reason. We need to build in those breaks for them. We need to reset the brain. So, whatever your child likes to do for a break, whether that’s dance to music, do a drawing break, or practice yoga with you, make sure you’re building in those breaks.

Allow Snack

This may seem silly, and no, I'm not talking about Nutella dripping all over the fingers or dipping into chocolate strawberries. I'm talking about easy snacks that are going to enhance their ability to engage. I suggest brainfood to the parents as snacks such as nuts or fruits. And maybe you can have a snack on your side too. 😉

Celebration Seconds

Celebrate your students when they're working really hard. Announce a spontaneous celebration second and bust out a dance to their favorite dance music or let them draw. Whatever it is, celebrate what they have accomplished and what they're trying so hard to do. This spontaneous move will surprise your students. Kids with ADHD will especially appreciate the break.

Provide Choice

Our students can be inflexible thinkers. We have to do structured literacy lessons that have some repetitive nature to them. When students feel a little bit trapped, like they don't have a choice and they don't like the lesson or where the lesson is headed, that's a perfect opportunity to add in some choice for the students. Even something little like, “Do you want to use a pink one or a blue one?” Or something like changing the lesson or “What move-in break do you want to do on your board card?” You can download this week’s new game HERE.

Appeal to Interest

Students are so excited to share things with us, especially when we're online and in their homes. We want to continue listening to what they're interested in and then add those interests to the lesson. So, you're appealing to the interest, building rapport and connection, and then you’re also validating what they are interested in. I hope this basketball game also interests some of your students. 😉

I hope to meet you in the Zoom Room soon!

Send me a message at, "OG Tutor," to get on the list for the next free training.

Remember, you can teach how you love 💕👩🏻‍💻🌎wherever you are.


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