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Creating a Friendly Environment for ADHD Children

Girl on ballMany people need to wiggle while they learn. Because this can be a distraction to other students, students with ADHD need to learn how to move without disturbing others. I have taught students how to kick their foot so that it does not hit the table leg or other students. (This works at home at the dinner table, too.) That way they can wiggle away and no one even notices it. Other students do well with a squeeze ball hidden away under the desk so that others are not distracted by it. I also try to give active children a chance to get up out of their seat pretty often. They love to help clean the white-board, put away supplies, or if at home -- help you clear the table.

I recently came across several other innovative ways for parents or teachers to help their wiggle worms:

  • An active child-friendly reading circle -- A teacher in Cincinnati created a reading circle for ADHD kids. She has a kidney shaped table where she can sit in the center and have the students in a half-circle around her. The trick is that they sit on exercise balls instead of chairs! They can sit there and wiggle and bounce while they learn how to read. What a great idea for a study place at home!
  • Special desks -- Another excellent idea for children who need to move: instead of making them sit down to work they can stand up.


I am anxious to give these desks a try. If each classroom had two or three of them, students could take turns working there instead of sitting at their normal desks. At home, your child could be allowed to stand up at the kitchen counter to work instead of being asked to sit still at a table.

  • Kid’s Companions -- Chewable jewelry for children who need to fidget is also worth checking out. I have seen many students who would benefit from "chewelry" and there is an attractive line for both girls and boys.

Both parents and teachers can be "ADHD friendly." Understanding the ADHD child’s need for action can make life easier for both of you! And, they get a bonus -- it helps them learn.

If you wonder whether your child may be ADHD, read How do I know if my child is ADHD?

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#2 Livia McCoy 2010-12-07 22:46
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I totally agree. ADHD children need structure and predictability in their life. Parenting and teaching changes need to be made to help them learn to cope.

I am interested in the training programs you mentioned. I will take a look at them!

With proper instruction, ADHD children can do these things successfully (finish tasks, etc.). And, you are right. They must be taught these skills.
#1 john glennon 2010-12-06 15:13
As a former elementary school principal, I am quite aware that attention difficulties are just the tip of the iceberg. ADHD children can't filter out distractions, finish tasks on-time, use their memory optimally, etc. A pill doesn't teach these skills.

My wife and I opted to use cognitive training for our son, Alex. We used Play Attention (www.playattention.com) and ADHD Nanny (www.adhdnanny.com). We've been very successful with these approaches. We also changed our parenting skills with great success.

It's just important to know that medicine teaches nothing. Parents and teachers must actively participate to help change a child's life. Success is the best environment you can provide.

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