Children with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often struggle in school. They have trouble staying focused, are easily distracted, often disorganized and tend to find it difficult to sit still or be quiet. All of these symptoms make it nearly impossible for children with ADHD to fully capture the information and skills of their school lessons.

ADHD affects about 4% of US school children, yet a search for study strategies specifically for these students comes up nearly empty. Often, because of the behaviors associated with the disorder, students with ADHD miss important information presented in class, which means that they definitely need to study at home. But if they can’t stay focused, are easily distracted and have difficulty sitting still, how are they supposed to studying? Certainly they can’t study the traditional way—sitting quietly at the table reading and highlighting their notes, which is why it’s so important that students with ADHD have study skills that work with, not against, their ADHD behaviors.

The Learning Disabilities Association of California and UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute “Q.U.I.L.T.S.” Calendar 2001-2002 recommends particular study strategies for students with ADHD. Some of the recommendations are to allow students to frequently change their study location, divide the material to be studied into smaller chunks to allow for frequent breaks, use study strategies that involve movement and employ multiple senses while studying. Study strategies that follow the LDA’s recommendations can be found in Lora the Study Coach’s Easy Study Strategies, a book written specifically for struggling students. Some of the activities include “Roll the Cube,” “Study Bingo,” “Match Me Up” and “Who Knows More.” These study strategies allow for movement, are portable, require only small amounts of information that need to be studied and can be completed in about 15 minutes. Other activities actually require no studying at all, yet help students learn information.

Children with ADHD are not like other students and neither are their study needs. Expecting them to sit still and study on their own is simply not going to be effective and most likely won’t result in the desired outcome. That is why it is so important that parents leave no stone unturned when it comes to helping their children be successful in their schoolwork.

Lora Incardona has been a public school teacher since 1993 and holds master degrees in bilingual education and educational leadership. Her book, Lora the Study Coach’s Easy Study Manual, education articles and blog can be found at