How to boost the confidence of ADHD students in Math?

1. Introduction
2. Problems faced by ADHD students
3. Activities Teacher can take up to help ADHD Students
4. Conclusion
5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
6. External References

November 10, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Are you finding it difficult to teach students with ADHD or other learning disabilities?

Children with learning disabilities are a part of every classroom. You need to be extra sensitive to accommodate their needs.

The best part is that you can make a big difference through your attitude in making the classroom environment relaxed and ready for learning.

Having said that, it is also the other students in the classroom who need to make it conducive for Math learning.

You could be the guide to make others more accommodating to students with special needs.

With adequate knowledge, planning, preparation, and perseverance, teaching kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be quite rewarding.

A typical inclusive classroom set up has to be conditioned for calming the children so that they are ready for understanding. The teacher has to manage all their needs in the common classroom environment when teaching math to ADHD students.

Though it depends on the experience and educational background of the teacher, there are some things that the teacher can practice which will boost the learning, especially in Math.

bored of math


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Downloadable PDF

Here are some additional points that talk about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To view them click on the Download button.


How to boost the confidence of ADHD students in Math?


Problems faced by ADHD students

Children with ADHD tend to be concrete thinkers. Without something to visualize, touch, or experience, they struggle to learn new mathematical concepts.

Many of them go through their daily classroom activities without focus. They are constantly distracted by other things happening in the classroom and outside.

While teaching math to ADHD students, these students might miss important directions. Some of the specific problems that ADHD students face are:

  • Inattention

ADHD students have sensory issues. A straightforward method to handle this challenge is to have a sensory Math corner created for them.

ADHD Student cannot focus in class

Some Math activities which will calm the brain of sensory overload are using beads for counting, playdough to spell number names, making numbers with play dough, etc.

These activities make the student focus better, as the brain calms down sufficiently to accept new information.

  • Organization

Most kids in a classroom benefit from an organized schedule of activities.

ADHD students, in particular, need a checklist to break down a particular task so that they are not overwhelmed. They will never benefit from a set of continuous instructions.

Checklist for ADHD students in classroom

For example, to start their day, you could ask the class to read the checklist written in simple language on a laminated sheet on each student’s work-space.

Asking them to read out the instructions help children prepare for their day ahead.

  • Working memory

Working memory is the part of short-term memory that is concerned with immediate, conscious, perceptual, and linguistic processing. Without this part, students will struggle to be focused on the class.

Working memory helps them absorb what is being taught in the class and also apply this learning in the workbook.

working memory of ADHD children

  • Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring is another crucial part of every Math class. This is examining work for errors and also checking if it contains proper steps to reach the answer.

The structured delivery of the concept ends in the answer being delivered with suitable steps.

This can be practiced in the class by having a set of instructions to follow for self-monitoring.

Activities Teacher can take up to help ADHD Students

Now let us try out some activities based on mathematical operations to see how a teacher can work keeping all these factors in mind.

Engage the primary school children in a “find addition facts’’ game –

Articles required: Craft sticks, colored paper, card paper.

  • Engage the children in coloring the sticks. This helps with their sensory needs and also builds focus.
  • Cut the card paper to make addition facts
  • Glue answers on the craft sticks.
  • Ask the student to match addition facts according to the number on the sticks.

This activity helps them to understand the concept of addition. It can be easily adjusted to include subtraction and multiplication operations.

missing number

Another important concept that is difficult for many students is fractions.

As most of the hyperactive students do not like to sit in one place, this activity can be done in a vast space or on the floor.

  • Make a big square on the floor and explain fractions using manipulatives.
  • You can use examples from daily life to engage them better.
  • Once they have understood the concept and played with the drawings, move back to seats with two students facing each other.
  • Play the fraction bingo game with dice. Throw two dice and make a fraction.
  • Let them understand that the number on the first die will be the numerator and the number on the second die will be the denominator.
  • Let them pick colors and shade appropriate fractions.

Busy bags

Busy Bags are simple activities stored in a bag for toddlers or preschoolers. They are engaging activities that your child can do independently.

For students experiencing sensory overload, busy bags might help.

The teacher can arrange some sorting or counting activity with colorful buttons or pattern blocks.

Busy bag activities for ADHD children

The busy bag can also contain some quick math puzzles like tangram (a dissection puzzle) to engage the first or second graders.

Physical exercise

Studies have shown that daily exercise is not only a way to shape the major muscles of the body, but also a very productive workout for the brain.

The teacher can involve the hyperactive student in a game to pick the right answer from the facts spread on the floor. The student can do this as a part of a group.

physical exercise for ADHD children

Yoga for kids with an emphasis on breathing, meditation, and physical exertion are effective at calming and centering ADHD children.

Specific yoga poses like tree pose or child’s pose calm the students and practicing them regularly in class fosters mindfulness.

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In addition to using the above strategies, the teachers can use the growth mindset strategies in their class very effectively to handle students with ADHD. Always presenting a calm demeanor helps in tackling a possible tantrum.

Some growth mindset strategies could be used to encourage the children to focus on small steps to take the big leap.

Keeping the activities really short, keeping elementary activities in tandem with the current concept, and keeping activities very engaging will help the teachers in managing the class.

As with any other student, ADHD students want to be understood and treated warmly. They might benefit from a positive and happy environment in class.

A good teacher can ensure outstanding learning outcomes if he/she keeps these simple yet powerful points in mind.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What does ADHD stand for?

ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

2. What is ADHD?

. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. It can affect the learning abilities of a child.

3. How to teach math to children with ADHD?

  • Use visual aids while teaching concepts
  • Encourage them and ask other students to be helping and encouraging
  • Make them participate in simple physical exercises in class.
  • Use busy bags for teaching

External References

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