adhd and school performance

Why Students with ADHD Need Fewer “Strategies”

If you have a student with ADHD, he/she may have been recommended for a Study Strategies class.  

Oftentimes, Study Strategies classes function like a ‘study hall’ and are simply an opportunity for students to complete homework assignments.  Study strategies are given as suggestions or ideas for students to ‘try’ to see if they work.  In other words, for students and parents who are learning how to study with ADHD, Study Strategies classes may not always provide the best solution.

As a parent of children with ADHD and a successful academic coach of students with ADHD, students with this condition DO NOT NEED another idea or suggestion.  In truth, these individuals have more wonderful ideas in a moment than they know how to process.

Students with ADHD, just like any highly talented athlete or musician, benefit from training in a process that simplifies the complex and enables them to focus on what’s important.  Students need practice in that process, encouragement to follow through, accountability when they don’t, and awareness of how they’re performing overall.   

“What should I ask if my student is recommended for a Study Strategies class?” 

Great question!

Studies Strategies classes are a great time for the training to occur but for the class to be effective and not just a ‘study hall’ here are some question to ask: 

  • What curriculum do you use? 
  • How is the class time structured?
  • How will you determine a weakness in my student? 
  • What is he/she expected to learn in your class? 
  • How will you measure his/her progress other than their grades? 
  • How will you teach my child to become independent with a process rather than dependent on you as the teacher? 

ADHD and difficulties in Executive Functioning often to hand in hand.  The official term for this is comorbidity (but a nicer way to say this) is these two conditions ‘walk together’ or co-exist.  Executive functioning  is the ability to organize, plan, problem solve and execute.   

Students with ADHD often struggle in these key areas,  which can translate to incomplete schoolwork, mismanaging materials and time, and not sufficiently studying for tests and planning long-term projects.  Giving students more time to attend to these tasks doesn’t necessarily mean they know HOW to do them—a good Study Strategies class will teach them how through curriculum and progress evaluation in terms of the skills they acquire.  

As the saying goes, 

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish,  feed him for a lifetime. 


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