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Students with ADHD and structuring the school day

Some suggestions on how to support students with ADHD and the structure of the school day

Starting the day

  • Use a cue to start the day so your student has a clear visual sign that the school day is about to start such as an egg timer.

  • Establish eye contact with the student.

  • Use physical games to encourage the children to take their seat, listen and engage with the day.

  • Explain to the class what the activities are for the day, encouraging the children to participate in displaying the activities on a “timeline”/ “day line” for the day. Ensure the tasks are written and in pictorial form too. Give times for activities and use a timer on the wall so the children can see how long the activity will take. An idea might be the make a cardboard clock which the children can set with the time the activity finishes and put this next to the clock on the classroom wall. You can explain “It is now 9 ’o clock”, we will be doing maths until 10’o clock (showing 10’o clock on the cardboard clock).  Click here for a clock template 



  • Keep instructions simple and structured, give instructions in interesting ways to encourage attention and promote understanding such as visual aids, props, colour coding

  • Vary activities and pace- incorporate physical movement

  • Use cues with the student to encourage them to stay on task such as a “secret language/ cue” or placing a sticky note on their desk.

  • Support the student to have access to an unobtrusive fidget toy

  • Give the student the opportunity to move around and take regularly breaks.


Ending the day

  • Be clear with the student that it is the end of the day. Physical cross off or turn over the activity card for the last activity.

  • Summarise the key points of the session with the class in a fun way for example using a song, games, a quiz and ensure the key points are displayed on the board and written down for the student.

  • Give the student time and support to pack away his/her things at the end of the day.