How to Study With ADHD (Tips for Studying That Work!)

Girl with headphones on a laptop using ADHD study techniques that work.

I remember when my daughter was having a hard time studying for her history test. Her ADHD made it difficult to stay focused and absorb the information. However, after trying out some of these ADHD-friendly study techniques, her grades improved, and our study sessions became more enjoyable (or at least we didn’t hate them anyway!)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (and ADD) can make learning a challenging experience for many children. As a parent, you understand the unique obstacles that your child with ADHD faces, and finding the right resources to help them succeed can be a HUGE task. That’s why we’re here to bridge the gap, providing educational and personalized content you and your child can understand.

This article will explore study tips specifically designed for children with ADHD. I aim to provide easy-to-understand strategies to help your child learn effectively while making the process more enjoyable for both of you.

By tailoring study techniques to their needs, we can work together to ensure that your child has every opportunity to thrive academically. So, let’s dive in and discover how to make studying with ADHD a more rewarding experience.

#1 Preparing a ADHD-Friendly Study Space

A designated study area is crucial for children with attention deficit issues, as it helps them associate the space with learning and focus. In addition, by creating a consistent and familiar environment, your child can more easily transition into a study mindset when they enter the room.

– Minimize distractions

To help your child concentrate better, minimizing distractions in their study space is important. Remove any unnecessary items that may grab their attention, like toys or electronic devices.

Also, choose a quiet spot in your home, away from household noises and activities, for their study session.

– Use visual cues and organizers

Visual cues and organizers can help children with ADHD keep track of their study materials and stay on task. For example, consider using color-coded folders or labels to organize subjects.

It is also a good idea to hang a bulletin board or whiteboard to display things such as:

  • Reminders
  • Schedules
  • Due dates
  • Goals

– Keep it comfortable and well-lit

Comfortable and well-lit study space can make a big difference in your child’s ability to focus. Make sure the room has proper lighting to reduce eye strain and provide a comfortable chair and a sturdy desk or table to work on.

Adding personal touches, like your child’s favorite colors or artwork, can make the space more their own. 

#2 Setting Goals and Prioritizing Tasks

Now that we’ve established a supportive study space, it’s time to help your child set goals and prioritize tasks. Setting clear goals and learning how to manage their responsibilities can make a massive difference in the academic success of children with ADHD. 

By knowing what they want to achieve, children with ADHD can better understand the purpose of their study sessions and help stay focused and motivated while studying.

– Break tasks into smaller steps

For kids with ADHD, tackling a big task can feel overwhelming. A more effective way would be to break tasks into smaller, more achievable steps.

This way, your child can complete each step and feel a sense of accomplishment, which helps build their confidence and motivation.

– Use visual aids like calendars and to-do lists

Visual aids can be a lifesaver for children with ADHD when organizing their tasks. For example, calendars and a to-do list can help your child see what needs to be done and prioritize their responsibilities.

Sometimes just being able to check off things helps with that overwhelming feeling. You can also use color coding or stickers to make it more engaging and fun for them.

Social stories are a great way to break down steps visually too. Read more here about how to easily create social stories and here to use social stories with teens.

– Reward progress and celebrate achievements

Recognizing and celebrating your child’s achievements, no matter how small, can significantly boost their self-esteem and motivation. Offer immediate rewards when they complete difficult tasks or a bigger reward when they reach milestones. 

The immediate reward can be as simple as a high-five or extra time on social media at break time. 

Providing a reward chart to see their progress toward their goals is also a great incentive. The reward doesn’t even have to be huge. My kids loved being able to earn things like:

  • Getting to sit up front in the car
  • Choosing where to eat
  • Picking the movie or game for family nights

By acknowledging their hard work, you’ll encourage them to continue putting in the effort and striving for success.

#3 Time Management Techniques

Mastering time management is a vital skill for all students, but it’s crucial for children with attention deficit problems. Good time management habits can help your child overcome some of the challenges associated with ADHD.

And this can lead to more effective study sessions and better academic outcomes. 

– Use timers and alarms

Timers and alarms are great tools for helping children with ADHD stay on track for short periods of time. For example, set a timer for a specific amount of study time, and when the timer goes off, allow your child to take a break.

The timer creates a sense of urgency that can help them focus and lets them know when it’s time to move on to the next task.

– Schedule regular breaks

Children with ADD often struggle to maintain focus for long periods of time. Scheduling short breaks can help them recharge and return to their studies with renewed energy.

Experiment with different break durations (short break vs. long) and frequencies to find the right balance for your child.

During break time, encourage them to do 10 minutes of aerobic exercise (this can even be a short walk) to help burn off some excess energy or do something calming like meditation or tai chi. 

– Encourage consistent routines

Establishing consistent routines can help a child with ADHD feel more in control of their time and responsibilities. Create a daily schedule that includes study time, breaks, and leisure activities.

Encourage your child to follow the routine and adjust to accommodate their needs and preferences.

 

 

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#4 ADHD Study Tips Based on Learning Styles 

Understanding your child’s unique learning style is important to helping them study effectively. There are four primary learning styles: 

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Reading/Writing
  • Kinesthetic

Each style has its own strengths and preferences when it comes to processing information.

  • Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening and verbal communication. They benefit from discussions, lectures, and audio recordings.
  • Visual learners prefer seeing information presented visually, like diagrams, charts, and illustrations. They process and retain information better in a visual format.
  • Reading/Writing learners thrive on written information and often excel when they can engage with text-based resources.
  • Kinesthetic learners thrive when they physically engage with the material through hands-on activities or movement.

It’s important to remember that your child may not fit neatly into one category; they might have a mix of learning styles. By identifying their strengths and preferences, you can tailor their study plan to suit their needs and make learning more enjoyable and effective.

Learning Techniques for auditory learners

Auditory learners thrive when they can process information through listening and speaking. In addition, these learners benefit from verbal explanations and discussing concepts aloud. Here are five study techniques for children with ADHD who are auditory learners.

1. Read aloud or use audio recordings

Encourage your child to read their study material aloud or listen to audio recordings. Listening can help auditory learners better process and retain information. You can also record your child’s voice as they explain a concept so they can listen to it later for reinforcement.

2. Teach back or discuss the material

Have your child teach the material back to you, a sibling, or a friend. I have found this worked really well for my kids. They also got a kick out of “teaching” something to a sibling.

They could also engage in discussions about the topic. This is how book club clubs are so effective. Did you know we have online book clubs for every age group

Teaching or discussing the material helps auditory learners process the information by verbalizing it, strengthening their understanding and recall.

3. Use mnemonic devices or songs

Mnemonic devices, like rhymes or acronyms, can help auditory learners remember information more easily. Encourage your child to create their own mnemonic devices or make up songs to help them remember key concepts or facts. A few examples of using mnemonic devices or songs to learn are: 

You can sing the days of the week to the tune of “The Addams Family” theme song.

The lyrics go like this:

Days of the week (snap, snap),
Days of the week (snap, snap),
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap, snap),

There’s Sunday and there’s Monday,
There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday,
There’s Thursday and there’s Friday,
And then there’s Saturday.

Days of the week (snap, snap),
Days of the week (snap, snap),
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap, snap).

PEMDAS/BODMAS for Order of Operations

To remember the order of operations in math, students often use one of these acronyms

PEMDAS

  • Parentheses
  • Exponents
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Addition
  • Subtraction

BODMAS

  • Brackets
  • Orders
  • Division
  • Multiplication
  • Addition
  • Subtraction

A mnemonic phrase like “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” or “Big Old Dinosaur Munching Apple Slices” can also help children recall the correct order of operations.

– The Planets Song

A popular way to remember the order of the planets in the solar system goes: “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Noodles,” which represents:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
– The Great Lakes Mnemonic

To recall the names of the five Great Lakes in North America, students can use the acronym HOMES, which stands for:

  • Huron
  • Ontario
  • Michigan
  • Erie
  • Superior

4. Listen to background music

Some auditory learners find that listening to soft, instrumental background music can help them stay focused during study sessions. Experiment with different types of music to see what works best for your child.

5. Utilize audiobooks or podcasts

Audiobooks and educational podcasts can be excellent resources for auditory learners. They allow your child to listen to information while engaging in other activities, like drawing or taking a walk.

Study Strategies for visual learners

Visual learners excel when they can engage with images, diagrams, and other visual aids to help them process and remember information. Here are five study techniques for children with ADHD who are visual learners.

1. Use flashcards or visual aids

Flashcards and visual aids, like charts or illustrations, can be an excellent help for visual learners. Encourage your child to create flashcards for key concepts or use visual aids to represent complex ideas in a more accessible format.

2. Create mind maps or diagrams

Mind maps and diagrams can help visual learners organize and connect information visually. Encourage your child to draw mind maps or diagrams to represent relationships between concepts and ideas.

Discover more about using mind maps with this free mind map online software. This will make it easier for them to understand and remember the material.

3. Use color-coding

Color coding can help visual learners categorize and remember information. Encourage your child to use colored pens, highlighters, or sticky notes to differentiate between subjects, topics, or main ideas.

4. Watch educational videos

Educational videos can be a valuable resource for visual learners, as they combine visual and auditory elements to explain concepts. Look for videos that use animations, diagrams, or real-life examples to illustrate the material.

5. Take visual notes

Encourage your child to take visual notes during study sessions, using symbols, sketches, or doodles to represent key ideas. This can help visual learners remember information and make connections between concepts.

Best Study Tips for Reading/Writing Learners

Reading and writing learners prefer taking notes, reading, and writing to help them process and remember information. Here are five study techniques for children with ADHD who are reading/writing learners:

1. Practice note-taking

Taking notes is a powerful tool for reading/writing learners. Encourage your child to jot down important points from their study materials on paper or electronically.

Writing it down helps them process the information, creating a valuable reference for future study sessions. 

2. Rewrite or summarize information

Ask your child to rewrite or summarize key concepts in their own words. Rewriting helps them understand the material better and reinforces their learning through writing.

3. Create written outlines or lists

Outlines and lists help reading and writing learners visually organize information in a way that’s easy to understand. For example, encourage your child to create outlines of chapters or topics or make lists of important facts or vocabulary words.

4. Use text-based resources

Reading and Writing learners benefit from text-heavy resources like worksheets, presentations, and articles. Therefore, provide your child with various written materials related to the subject they’re studying, so they can engage with the information in their preferred format.

5. Practice with written exercises and quizzes

Written exercises and quizzes help reading/writing learners reinforce their knowledge and test their understanding. Encourage your child to complete practice questions, essays, or other written assignments to review the material and hone their skills.

Techniques for kinesthetic learners

Kinesthetic learners prefer hands-on activities and movement, as they learn by engaging with the material physically rather than passively absorbing information. Here are five study techniques for children with ADHD who are kinesthetic learners.

1. Use hands-on activities or simulations

Kinesthetic learners benefit from hands-on activities that allow them to engage physically with the material. Look for opportunities to incorporate real-life examples, experiments, or simulations into their study sessions.

One time for a physics lesson we filled baby diapers with different amounts of water. Then, we dropped them from our upstairs balcony to measure if one fell quicker than the other because it was heavier.

That was over ten years ago, but my kids will still bring it up. Try to find an “experiment” for learning particularly hard topics.

This can help them better understand and remember the concepts.

2. Incorporate movement into studying and breaks

Allow your child to move around or take breaks that involve physical activity. This can help kinesthetic learners stay engaged and focused during study sessions.

For example, encourage your child to act out a historical event or use physical objects to represent mathematical concepts. Even having them sit on an exercise ball while studying has been found to help. 

3. Use fidget tools or stress balls

Providing your child with fidget toys, like stress balls or putty, can help kinesthetic learners stay focused during study sessions by allowing them to channel their energy into the device. Check out this blog 2 Brilliant Ways to Get Kids to Sit Still and Focus on Learning for more about fidget tools. 

4. Practice role-playing or storytelling

Role-playing or storytelling can help kinesthetic learners engage with the material more deeply. For example, encourage your child to act out scenes from a story, simulate a historical event, or explain a concept through a story.

5. Incorporate games and puzzles

Games and puzzles can be an engaging way for kinesthetic learners to practice and reinforce concepts. Look for educational games or puzzles related to the subject your child is studying, or create your own activities that involve problem-solving or critical thinking.

#5 Tips for Staying Focused and Engaged

Maintaining focus is often challenging for children with ADHD, but it’s crucial for successful learning. When children can stay focused and engaged, they can better understand and retain the material they’re studying, leading to improved academic performance.

– Encourage active learning

Active learning means actively engaging with the material rather than passively absorbing information. Encourage your child to ask questions, discuss concepts, or participate in hands-on activities that help them stay involved and focused during study sessions.

– Use a variety of study materials

Various study methods can help maintain your child’s interest and prevent boredom. Try to incorporate different types of resources, like:

  • Videos
  • Worksheets
  • Games
  • Books
  • Study guide
  • Practice tests that you or your child creates
  • Old quizzes from the teacher
  • Online classes

These study methods will help keep your child engaged and cater to their learning preferences.

 

#6 Seeking Additional Support

As a parent, it’s important to recognize when your child with ADHD may need additional support in their academic journey. Some signs that your child might need extra help include the following:

  • Consistently struggling with schoolwork
  • Experiencing high levels of stress or frustration
  • Falling behind in their studies despite their best efforts

4 Options for additional support

1. School resources and accommodations

Schools often offer resources and accommodations to support students with special needs, including ADHD students. Reach out to your child’s school to learn about available services, such as extra time on tests, modified assignments, or access to learning support staff. The school may also organize study groups, especially for high school students.

2. Special Education Tutoring 

Tutoring can be a valuable resource for children with ADHD who need extra help with specific subjects or study skills. Tutoring can be a very powerful study tool.

We tutor all ages- from elementary school and middle school students to college students and even adults. And we do it from the privacy of your home online. Schedule a chat to see how we can help!

3. Therapy

Additionally, therapy, such as occupational therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help address underlying challenges related to ADHD and improve your child’s overall functioning.

4. Support groups and online communities

Connecting with other parents and families with children with ADHD can provide valuable insights, encouragement, and resources. Look for local support groups or online communities where you can share experiences, ask questions, and learn from others who have faced similar challenges.

Are you in our Special Ed Parenting Facebook group?

Remember, every child with ADHD is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s essential to be patient, flexible, and willing to experiment with different strategies to find the most effective approach for your child.

Stay supportive and keep communication open as you work together to create a personalized learning path that leads to academic success and personal growth. With persistence and the right tools, children with ADHD can overcome challenges and thrive in their educational journey.

Additional Resources You Want to See Next

Special Education Resource has a ton of articles, quotes, videos, resources, and one-on-one special education tutoring. We are here to help you every step of the way.

These articles may also be helpful:

 

 

Girl with headphones on a laptop using ADHD study techniques that work.
Help your child learn how to study with ADHD using these super effective tips! These tailored strategies will unlock your child’s success.
Shannah Holt

Shannah Holt

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