When it comes to teaching ADHD, there are some things that can make a massive difference in a child’s productivity in addition to standard treatments such as medication or diet changes. I’ve talked about classroom-friendly fidget tools before, but this list of products focuses on other items that can help a child with ADHD succeed in a classroom setting. Not all products will work equally well for kids with ADHD, but these are the ADHD tools for the classroom that my daughter uses and prefers when she’s trying to concentrated in the classroom. Try one or two items at a time, and over a few weeks, you’ll soon be able to identify what tools are distractions for kids with ADHD and what tools actually help.
As a teacher, you can supply your classroom with a box of these ADHD tools for the classroom, and if you’re a parent, try sending one or two of these tools with your child to school each day.
Tips for Making ADHD Tools Work
Not every class has the same rules on what is acceptable in the classroom. To go outside of these standard rules, you’ll probably have to prove that your child benefits from the use of the tools. You can ask for a meeting with your child’s teacher and the school’s administrative staff to request special considerations for the needs of your child.
The tools aren’t meant to be “fun” necessarily, just provide an outlet for the child to move around, which for an ADHD child, actually helps improve their concentration. If the tool isn’t doing that, and it’s distracting the child from the lesson, it’s not the right tool for that child.
Want to try non-traditional fidgets? Try these fun DIY fidgets!
In my experience, there are three main ways that a child with ADHD moves around and fidgets in the classroom.
Some kids fidget with their hands, picking at skin, rubbing their hands together, playing with pencils, doodling, tapping the desk, etc.
Another form of fidgeting is bodily movement, where the child wiggles in their seat, bounces a leg, jiggles their feet, stands up frequently, falls out of the chair, and is otherwise distracting with their body movement. This is the form of fidgeting my daughter does most often.
The third kind of fidgeting is oral. Some kids chew constantly on anything they can get their hands on, like pens, pencils, straws, fingers, hair, paper, cloth, or pretty much anything.
Many kids with ADHD will show multiple types of fidgeting behavior, but it’s helpful to know which is the most common for your child before sending them to school with fidgets. Teachers should provide for all types of fidgeting in their fidget toolkits.
ADHD Tools for Emotion Management
Kids who have ADHD often have BIG emotions because one of the hallmarks of ADHD is poor impulse control. So, where a neurotypical child might realize she can’t throw her pencil at an annoying classmate or she’ll get into trouble, the child with ADHD goes right ahead and throws that pencil. Then, when asked later *why* she threw the pencil when she got in trouble, she can’t answer, because she really didn’t think at all. There wasn’t a why, just an impulse. Usually, events like this start a snowball effect of negative behavior, with more punishments, anger, and explosive emotions.
But, if you can give children with ADHD the tools they need to stop and think before the initial event occurs, then they are better equipped to stop the cycle.
Right now, my friend Dayna has a free Behaviors Workshop, all about getting to the bottom of difficult emotions in the classroom and what those kids need. If you teach any child with ADHD or special needs, you won’t want to miss this incredible workshop based on over 12 years of classroom and personal experience working with kids struggling with emotion control.
A lot of classroom resources are aimed at what teachers can do for parents, but I happen to love books that give children their own tools to succeed. The only book I’ve ever seen do this is The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day.
This book is designed FOR the child with ADHD and gives them a set of resources and activities they can try to control their own emotions and reactions. It is an amazing resource for both parents of kids with ADHD, teachers, and kids with ADHD.
ADHD Tools for Oral Stimulation
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ADHD Tools for Tactile Stimulation
ADHD Tools for Physical Stimulation
ADHD Tools for Distraction Prevention
It will typically take time to discover the precise object that will help a child with ADHD focus the best, but these ADHD tools for the classroom will definitely help you get on the right track. In addition to the classroom, you can also add some of these products to your child’s homework station at home, so they can focus easily during homework as well.
More Tips for Teaching ADHD