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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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2.3 Creating an ADHD-Friendly Environment

There are many ways to help children and teens with ADHD function better at home and school by engineering the environment to accommodate their needs and self-regulation difficulties. This involves taking into consideration the structure, organization, tools, cues, and other things that can be added to or adjusted in the classroom or home environment to make it more ADHD-friendly.

Environmental Supports and Accommodations in the Classroom

Environmental considerations are essential for classroom management and accommodating individual learning styles. See List 2.11 for some of the environmental factors that can be problematic for children with ADHD and trigger unwanted behavior.

Student Seating

  • Physically arrange the classroom with options for seating. More optimal desk formations for students with ADHD are single-desk options instead of two-person desks or tables, U-shapes, E-shapes, and straight or staggered rows rather than table formations with desk clusters facing each other.
  • Students with ADHD are usually best seated in these ways:
    • Close to the center of instruction
    • Surrounded by positive role models and well-focused, on-task students
    • Within teacher cueing and prompting distance
    • With their desks positioned so the teacher can easily make eye contact with them and be able to communicate and redirect discretely
    • Away from high traffic areas and distracters such as noisy heaters or air conditioners, learning centers, doors, windows, and ...

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