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Realize is a not-for-profit organisation registered in Belize, certificate no. 16681

Realize is a charity registered in England and Wales, registration no. 1171695

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.