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Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law
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How should schools address the needs of ADHD students?

Schools here in California, as well as across the nation, have a duty to provide the best possible education to students regardless of whether they are special needs or not. In order to make sure that no student is left behind, school administrators and teachers need to be aware of their students' needs and make adjustments to the student's learning environment if necessary.

To show how a school and its teachers should adjust to the unique needs of some students, we will look at attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and how it can affect a child's ability to learn.

ADHD affects a child's ability to pay attention or concentrate, which can make it difficult for a student to follow directions, which can cause them to become frustrated or bored with tasks. Students with ADHD also exhibit impulsive behaviors and generally have a hard time sitting still for extended periods of time, which can also lead to a lack of attention.

But while most people focus on the fact that ADHD can be distracting to their fellow classmates, it's important to remember that this disorder has more of an effect on the special needs student. Children with ADHD can become easily frustrated and often need extra time and attention when it comes to their school work. If teachers are not aware of this fact, they could cause the student to miss out on important educational opportunities.

Teachers and school administrators can help mitigate this frustration by adapting the student's environment to fit the student's needs. Some ways to help an ADHD student may be to:

  • Move them to a classroom with fewer distractions
  • Give one-on-one attention to help improve their educational experience
  • Maximize the student's attention by giving directions to one task at a time
  • Introduce difficult material at the start of the day when the student's mind is not so fatigued

By educating themselves about ADHD and individualizing education for these special needs students, teachers here in California can ensure that they are giving students access to a proper education and providing the best way by which to do this.

Sources: The U.S. Department of Education, "Identifying and Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Resource for School and Home," Accessed Sept. 30, 2014

WebMD, "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What Is ADHD?" Accessed Oct. 1, 2014

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