Curriculum considerations for ADHD

All students have strengths. It is important to identify what these are to create a positive feedback cycle for the student.

Creative arts

Students with ADHD may enjoy arts and music. They may find it easier to focus in these subjects than they do in other academic areas.

Some students with ADHD are very creative and may enjoy and excel in the arts. This is great for boosting their self-confidence.


Some students with ADHD may find reading and comprehension manageable with additional support in written expression, spelling and using structure and logic when communicating.

It may be helpful to identify what the student needs help with. For more specific strategies for literacy, refer to tips for teaching students with specific learning difficulty, including tackling underlying skills.

Other students may benefit from extra guidance organising and expressing their ideas, or they may lose track of their original ideas. Planning out ideas before writing, or using pictorial or word cues, can help them stay on track.

Consider using computer software that teaches literacy skills. Reading and typing using a computer rather than hand writing on paper may be helpful for some students.


Computer software may help students learn and practise numeracy skills.

Students may need to be taught how to filter out unnecessary information (for example, the problem’s story) and break the important information down (for example, is it a compare, combine or change problem).

They could find word cues (for example, both red pens and blue pens are pens) and use diagrams (for example, pictures for counting).

Encourage students to try out helpful maths strategies their peers used. Ask students questions (for example, What could you do to make this easier?) to help them to think and talk out loud ways of doing problems accurately (for example, I could draw columns in multiplication problems to keep answers organised).

Refer to simplify instructions and learning, teach self-instruction skills, adapt activities, and teach academic skills.


Students with ADHD and specific learning difficulty may find learning new phonetics difficult. Refer to relevant strategies for learning phonetics in the specific learning difficulty guide.

If the new language uses a non-phonetic alphabet (such as, Chinese characters) they may benefit from extra support.

Audio textbooks may allow students to focus on learning the information they need to know.

Reading, writing or speech abilities can affect the way some students with ADHD learn languages.

You may need to refer to tips for teaching students with specific learning difficulty.

Personal development, health and physical education

Most students are capable in physical education. They may have varying levels of coordination and gross and fine motor skills. Refer to the fine and gross motor page for strategies to support motor skills.

Consider using peer buddies or small groups to practise sports skills. Consider assigning team members randomly so that everyone gets a chance to play.

Use clear verbal (for example, start, game over, stop) and nonverbal (for example, one whistle blow, music stops) instructions for learning skills (for example, start, stop, freeze).

Some students may like extra time to learn rules, structure and strategies in games. You may need to teach these more than once. Check understanding frequently.

Activity area boundaries should be clearly marked (for example, using cones). A separate quiet space may help some students to calm down.

Impulsive behaviours during a game may impact performance on the field. Students may make careless errors, show aggression and risk being disqualified from team sports.

Consider teaching and modelling skills that students may need during sports games. Have them practise social and problem-solving skills, managing conflict, sports skills and good sportsmanship.

Encourage appropriate behaviours, and offer feedback to students straight away when needed.

Human society and environment

Help students make personal connections to what they are learning to increase their interest in the topic.

Technology may make lessons more engaging.

Science and technology

Students may remember and engage in lessons better if they can see it in real life. Consider excursions to see science in action.

Some students with ADHD are highly creative and may enjoy and excel in Technologies.

Some students may be motivated by technology. They may find it easier to understand and complete tasks in other learning areas that integrate design and digital technologies.

Students working together in the classroom.