Building a connection with the diagnosed ADHD English language learners can be tricky especially with relatively new arrivals and young ELLs. This article will briefly describe the problems, early struggles and troubleshooting techniques.

Using a Variety of Medium in Whole Class Instruction

When introducing the concept of class rules, you can show consecutive pictures of a ‘clock,’ ‘a pencil box and bag of books,’ ‘a picture of a student working,’ and ‘a teacher talking in front of the class’ and try to elicit known vocabulary. Then you can show a poster with the rules and ask students to stick the Velcro picture-related rule of the missing word.

Teach them the commands verbs: ‘listen,’ ‘work,’ ‘come’ in a jazzy chant style slowly adding a few words to each sentence. You can begin the following lessons with this chant as a prelude to reviewing the rules.

When the time comes to focus on introducing the new phonetic word families within a farm theme for example, you can start using flashcards with big bold letters of “look and say” and “look and do” as first prompts for reinforcing the expectation of listening to the teacher.

Students can repeat ‘sleep’ ‘sheep’ as you sing them with funny expressions, sing-song catchy tunes. They raise the number of fingers that corresponds to the number of the picture.


There are no quick and easy recipes to working with ADHD students. It is important however, to identify two main problem areas that interfere with classroom instruction and student performance which can be understanding the task and a lack of appropriate learning strategies. By giving ADHD supports the appropriate support, teachers can help facilitate the process of learning a new language by helping them with processing of new information while attempting to also understand the task.

Using a Variety of Learning Strategies

ADHD students can use individual reading charts to measure how fast they read or, how many words they learned in one lesson, two lessons or one week. They also can practice writing one word. As a homework assignment, I tell them to choose one word. During the next lesson, I ask them to write for me that new word.

In a small tutorial, teachers can explain to the students that they are going to have to listen and remember especially when learning new words. This naturally leads to the next section: teaching modeling and guided instruction.

Teacher Modeling and Guided Instruction.

a) Using a non-threatening white board, teachers can write the task on the board using simple sentences, bolding the key words such as “look” “write” and “copy.” Avoid too many pictures. Too much clutter is distracting.

b) Peer tutoring is also a good idea. Students can write or draw what another student did in terms of the steps s/he did to complete the task.

c) Use of praise and positive reinforcement as a useful management strategy

d) Organizational and study skills. Students need to be taught how to use a looseleaf and a plastic folder.

e) Encourage multisensory instruction. When there is a task to be done,students can work in their own “office corners” or privacy boards. In some cases, they work with earphones to block out noise.

Modifying the Tasks

In some cases, it is necessary to modify the written requirements in terms of: quantity, shortening the length of the assignment, allowing more time, and focusing on quality.

Analyzing Progress

As students put these strategies into practice, teachers can check their language level and coping skills.

Getting ADHD students to function on task is a particularly difficult challenge, but it is possible for them to function successfully in light with language learning once they were provided with the right frame of support. This can help consolidate learning key vocabulary including certain words they should know prior to encountering them in sentences, which is especially important when it comes to dealing with textual knowledge skills.


Source by Dorit Sasson