ADHD toolkit

Last updated: 15/11/2023
ADHD toolkit
Main Subject
Key stage
Resource type
Teaching ideas
Teaching tools and tips

This practical and accessible toolkit is designed to help teachers and teaching assistants to support key stage 3 and key stage 4 students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the mainstream classroom. ADHD toolkit presents an overview of what ADHD is, how it is diagnosed and how it can be treated. It provides a variety of strategies and printable resources to help learners with ADHD thrive in your classroom.

What's included?

This 43-page downloadable toolkit includes:

  • an overview of the three types of ADHD: combined, hyperactive-impulsive and predominantly inattentive
  • a checklist of ADHD symptoms
  • a summary of the ADHD treatment available, including types of medication and therapeutic support
  • an explanation of how ADHD affects the brain, including impacts on executive functioning
  • an overview of how ADHD affects girls and women
  • comorbid conditions that can occur with ADHD, such as autism and Tourette syndrome
  • classroom strategies for managing ADHD
  • tips and templates for rewarding students’ success
  • a CPD PowerPoint for staff training, parents’ evenings and senior leadership meetings.

How does it support students with ADHD?

ADHD toolkit helps teachers to recognise behaviours that may be indicative of the three main symptoms of ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It offers advice on seating arrangements, turn-taking skills and conflict resolution, with reminders to praise students and showcase their strengths. It also provides classroom strategies to support executive functioning weakness, and teaching strategies for supporting students with memory skills, organisation skills and writing tasks.

For students, the toolkit offers self-regulation techniques, tips on how to avoid getting distracted, and planning tools such as timetables and activity planners.

The toolkit also suggests sensory supports such as fidget toys that can be beneficial for learners with ADHD and highlights the importance of regular healthy snacks, and of staying hydrated to combat the side effects of ADHD medication.

About the writer

ADHD toolkit was written by Elizabeth Swan. Lizzy draws upon lived experience and upon professional expertise from over 20 years as a qualified teacher, SENDCo and headteacher in secondary schools and special schools. She exploits her postgraduate study of psychology to present the ‘best bets’ from research-informed approaches to supporting children and young people with ADHD.

What's inside?

- Introduction

  • What is neurodiversity?
  • What is ADHD?
    - ADHD: Fact or fiction?
    - How is ADHD diagnosed?
    - Symptoms of ADHD
    - Treatment for ADHD
    - ADHD and the brain
    - Oestrogen and ADHD
    - Rejection sensitive dysphoria
    - ADHD and additional diagnoses

- ADHD and education

  • Support with written work
  • Reasonable adjustments and ADHD
    - Cognition and learning support
    - Physical and sensory support
    - Social and emotional support
    - Exam support
  • Case studies
  • Printable resources

- Further support

  • Glossary
  • Useful links
  • Useful books
  • References

This toolkit is part of our ‘Supporting neurodiversity’ series – a new collection for teaching neurodiverse students and supporting young people with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and learning disabilities. Our other neurodiversity toolkits include:

For resources to support students with Tourette Syndrome, see the resource collection from our partner Tourettes Action.

You might also like this article by teacher, author and former journalist Emma Mahony on Supporting students with ADHD in the mainstream secondary classroom.

Note: ADHD toolkit is a digital download, but it is part of our SEND collection and is not included in a Premium subscription.

An extract from the 'What is ADHD?' section:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that creates difficulties with attention and concentration, and levels of restlessness and impulsivity that are so significant that they impair everyday functioning and development.

Despite the name of the condition, ADHD learners rarely have a shortage of attention; in fact, they tend to pay too much attention to everything, often having multiple things going on in their minds at once. In addition to challenges with hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, ADHD is now recognised as causing deficits in the executive functioning systems in the brain.

In the UK, ADHD is estimated to be prevalent in 1.9–5% of children (Murphy et al., 2014). Globally, the average rate of prevalence in children is reported to be 5%, ranging between 2% and 7% (Polanczyk et al., 2007).

Whilst the perception is that ADHD is ‘on the rise’ In the UK, the condition remains largely under-identified in children, especially girls, and in adults. Girls are less likely to be referred for assessment for ADHD, more likely to have undiagnosed ADHD and more likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis of a mental health condition or other neurodevelopmental condition (NICE 2018).

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