ADHD - Instructional Strategies

This page contains instructional strategies for faculty who have SF State students who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), enrolled in their classes.  An overview of students with ADHD can be found on the ADHD Overview page.  You are also invited to consult with the DPRC staff as needed.  Contact us at (415) 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or dprc@sfsu.edu.

Listed below are some useful instructional strategies for working with students with ADHD.

Instructional Strategies

The following strategies are suggested to enhance the accessibility of courses instruction, materials, and activities.  They are general strategies designed to support individualized reasonable accommodations.

  • On your syllabus, include a Disability Access Statement inviting students with disabilities to request accommodations. DPRC has developed the following Disability Access Statement for course syllabi: "Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC, located in SSB 110, can be reached by telephone at 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at dprc@sfsu.edu."
  • Students with ADHD generally perform better if given a syllabus with clear explanations of tasks and specific due-dates.
  • As the semester progresses, verbal reminders in class of impending deadlines (e.g." Remember, the problem sets are due Friday") are very helpful to students with ADHD.
  • Assist the student with finding an effective notetaker, if the student is eligible for this service.
  • Allow the student to  audio-record lectures.
  • Whenever possible, start each lecture with a summary of material to be covered or provide a written outline.  Broad margins and triple-spacing on handouts enables students to take notes directly onto the outline, an aid to organization. Provide a review of the major points at the conclusion of each lecture.
  • Avoid making assignments in oral form only, since students with ADHD may miss them. In addition to oral announcements, write assignments on the board or pass them out in written form.
  • Students with ADHD may tend to "drift" mentally during class, especially during long lectures. They are better able to stay focused when the class format is varied, as when lecture alternates with presentation and class discussion.
  • For large projects or long papers, students with ADHD benefit from assistance with breaking the task down into its component parts and setting deadlines for each part.
  • Since they are often distractible, students with ADHD benefit from preferential seating near the front of the class or away from possible sources of distraction like windows, doors or noisy heaters.
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, ask him or her.
  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (i.e., avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class).

If your questions are not answered by what is in the information please contact the DPRC at (415) 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or dprc@sfsu.edu.