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Enhancing Classroom Inclusivity: Effective Approaches for Assisting ADHD Learners

What Does ADHD Mean in School?

ADHD is a complicated matter – a neurodevelopmental condition that presents itself in many ways, from impacting behaviour and concentration abilities, to regulating movement and impulsivity.

If left undiagnosed, the repercussions can be far-reaching, leaving pupils at risk of underachieving, becoming isolated from their peers, and losing that all-important self-assurance.

But it’s not doom and gloom – early intervention can prove pivotal in helping these pupils manage their uniqueness and unlock their full academic and intellectual potential. This presents a great opportunity.

How Does ADHD Affect Pupils in the Classroom?

For many young learners, the school setting is where those telltale ADHD symptoms first come to the fore, which means educators are often the first to notice when a pupil is struggling to stay focused or exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviour.

Source: ADHD in the Classroom, GAIT

So, what are the signs you should be looking out for?

Of course, an official ADHD diagnosis should always come from a medical professional. But you can play a vital role in flagging behaviours that might indicate a pupil could benefit from an evaluation.

Some potential red flags include:

  • A wavering attention span and being easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness, such as constantly misplacing belongings
  • An inability to concentrate on tasks deemed tedious or lacking stimulation 
  • Careless mistakes in schoolwork due to inattention
  • Struggling to follow multi-step instructions or stay organised
  • Excessive fidgeting and restlessness
  • Impulsive actions like interrupting others or blurting out responses
  • A seeming obliviousness to potential dangers

But remember, you’ll want to evaluate these behaviours through the lens of the pupil’s age, cultural background, and individual development. Unconscious biases can sometimes distort our perceptions.

How Do You Create an ADHD Friendly Classroom?

The traditional classroom setup can present a number of problems for ADHD pupils. But recognising those hurdles and crafting tailored solutions is how we can keep these pupils engaged and thriving academically.

Source: 25+ Strategies for Kids with ADHD, Pathway2Success


Sitting still for extended periods, especially in tranquil settings? This is often challenging for ADHD pupils. Virtual learning can exacerbate this struggle even further.

Solution: Build in movement breaks and opportunities to ease the restlessness through physical activity. Consider allowing fidget toys or stress balls to provide an outlet during focused work time.


Repetitive tasks and activities lacking that special edge of engagement? This is likely to lead to disinterest and lost concentration among ADHD pupils.

Solution: Mix up the pace and format of your lessons with a combination of contrasting tasks to keep their attention piqued. Hands-on, interactive elements can be a game-changer.


For some ADHD individuals, navigating the social landscape of classrooms can be incredibly hard. Making friends, interpreting social cues – it’s like learning a foreign language, especially for younger pupils still honing turn-taking, emotional regulation, and active listening skills.

Solution: Dedicate quality time to explicitly teaching and practising those all-important social skills. And when it comes to group activities, thoughtful pairings and team dynamics can facilitate positive connections.


New routines? Switching gears between tasks? These transitions can be a huge obstacle for ADHD pupils, leaving them on the edge and feeling overwhelmed. 

Solution: Flexibility is key – allow ample time for processing changes and adjusting to new rhythms. Strategies like advanced reminders, visual cues, and gradual transitions can help smooth out any issues along the way.


Executive function challenges can turn something as simple as remembering homework or materials into something of a mission impossible for ADHD pupils. Disorganisation and forgetfulness? This is something that is quite common.

Solution: At Harrow International School Hong Kong, we keep spare supplies on hand for those inevitable “oops” moments. And establishing routines and visual reminders can help pupils stay organised and prepared for class.


For individuals with ADHD, following complex, multi-step instructions can feel like a complex maze with one too many twists and turns. Time management and planning? These are more items to conquer.

Solution: Provide instructions well in advance and take time to confirm comprehension. Visual aids, checklists, or step-by-step guides can serve as a roadmap through those processes. Periodic time checks? A must for keeping them on track.

What are the Support Strategies for Pupils with ADHD?

While these classroom accommodations can seriously upgrade the ADHD learning experience, an all-encompassing approach tackling multiple domains is key to nurturing true inclusivity and academic success.    

The Behaviour Game: Implementing a consistent positive reinforcement system (such as reward points or daily report cards) can work wonders for encouraging productive behaviours and curbing disruptive conduct. A little motivation goes a long way.

The Organisation Station: Collaboration is key here. By teaming up with counsellors and school psychologists, you can develop individualised game plans to support ADHD pupils’ planning, time management, material organisation, etc. Clear expectations and positive feedback.

The Ever-Evolving Educator: As our understanding of ADHD and neurodiversity continues to expand, we are conscious at Harrow International School Hong Kong that we need to stay in the know on the latest research, accommodations, and best practices. Creating an inclusive classroom is an ever-evolving journey for all.

At the end of the day, fostering a space where ADHD learners can truly thrive takes heart, creativity, and a commitment to constant growth. But by embracing effective strategies and joining forces as educators, families, and the pupils themselves, we can all play a pivotal role in nurturing the unique talents and boundless potential of every single pupil.