Understanding ADHD | For Professionals | For Teachers | Classroom Accommodations | Social Skills

Social Skills

Besides creating academic challenges, ADHD also affects social skills. Student may have trouble controlling their emotions, and younger kids especially may have difficulty keeping their hands to themselves. They might not interpret social cues effectively. They could also struggle with conversational skills. These challenges often cause students with ADHD to have difficulty making and keeping friends.

As a teacher, you can help by providing a positive learning environment. You can also teach, show, and support appropriate behavior in the following ways:

  • Praise the student for good behavior more often than punishing for bad. Give encouragement and reassurance. Let the student hear they are succeeding. Frequent but brief feedback that lets the student know they are on the right track is often very effective.
  • Work with students to set up a private signal, either visually or verbally, to help them recognize when their behavior is bordering on inappropriate. When prompting behavior you want it to be a reminder rather than a reprimand.
  • Promote self-awareness. Ask students to describe the problem or issue they are having. Ask them why they think it is happening and how they can change their behavior.
  • Give opportunities for group or paired learning. The opportunities provide a structured setting for students to interact with classmates.
  • Provide opportunities for other students to see them in a positive light. You might ask the student to help you with a task or give him or her a leadership role in the classroom for a day―anything to help the student feel connected to the classroom and the school.
  • Provide feedback in one-on-one settings. Not only do you preserve self-esteem by providing feedback privately, but you also can help reinforce positive behavior and have the student practice having a conversation with you to improve social skills.