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Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder 

ADHD is a “Psychiatric disorder with symptoms occurring before age seven that includes a pervasive and significant pattern of inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity”.


Meet Braylon Medeiros

Braylon, 18 years old, is a high school student with ADHD. Join us to hear his story about his experiences with ADHD in the Hawai'i public school system!


Question 1 - "How has having ADHD affected your experience in public education?"

Answer:- When I was diagnosed with ADHD, I was placed in Special Education classes at the age of 6. From there, I have had an IEP that "helped" shaped my learning plan and let the other teachers know what accommodations I needed.

Question 2: "What would you change about the Special Education program you experienced?" 

Answer: "Believe it or not, after elementary school, not all of my teachers knew I had an IEP. In middle school and high school, the teachers who taught the "average" students did not participate in my IEP meetings. I really wish they did or were required to. It always had to my an IEP coordinator or a counselor to notice me before my teachers did".


Question 3: "What are some things you wish teachers did or could do to help support you more?

Answer: "Be understanding and speak to me about my needs. The IEP is just a paper that cant give teachers a real look into my needs. I remember when I adjusted my ADHD medication and it affected me in a bad way. I needed more time for a project and more help in the class, but because my IEP didn't extend that far, there was nothing the teacher could do for me at the time. How was I supposed to know that the new medication would affect me that way? So future teachers, don't just read the papers, talk to the students as well, there may be things that are affecting our learning and we don't even know it."


  • ADD: “Attention Deficit Disorder” 

  • ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”

In 1980, the DSM-III used ADD to categorize these children and noted that the condition could exist with hyperactivity 

Several years later, the term was changed to ADHD to include those with hyperactivity and without. 

The most recent and accurate term to describe the disorder is ADHD


6 Things to Know about ADHD 

  1. ADHD is a developmental impairment of executive function

    • This affects a students ability to comprehend, monitor, and direct one’s cognition in order to achieve goals

  2. ​ADHD is chronic, long term and NOT a result of an accident or injury​

  3. ADHD can be present in mild to severe levels

  4. ADHD is not situational. It affects the child over multiple settings

  5. Students with ADHD are more likely to be production deficit rather than acquisition deficit

    •  The child may have no problem retaining information the biggest issue may lie in the production of work 

  6. Both inattentive and hyperactive traits are present for students with ADHD 

Characteristics of a Student with ADHD 

Academic Characteristics 

  • Remember, ADHD is NOT related to intellectual ability

    • Some students with ADHD are gifted and need to be challenged and assisted 

  • Students with ADHD CAN BE SUCCESSFUL IN SCHOOL when...

    • Taught by knowledgeable teachers 

    • Have proper family support 

  • Majority of students with ADHD experience difficulties academically and achieve below potential 

  • Greater the symptoms of ADHD the greater the chances of academic difficulty 

  • More likely to stop trying and give up (can be reversed with proper support and planning)

Behavioral Characteristics 

  • Failure to closely attend to details or making careless mistakes in schoolwork

  • Inappropriately out of seat

  • Failure to complete schoolwork

  • Excessive talking

  • Failure to listen when spoken to directly

  • Running, climbing on furniture, or in older students, a frequent feeling of restlessness

  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities

  • Avoidance of, dislike of, or reluctance to engage in tasks that require sustained effort, such as schoolwork or homework


Environmental Supports for Students with ADHD 

  • Classroom space should be organized and free from distractions 

  • Students should be able to work without looking or bumping into other students 

    • Desk Corrals 

  • Mindful of Decorations. They may be distractful for students with ADHD 

  • Posted Clear Classroom rules and expectations 

  • Teachers should stick to the routine

    • If there is a change, warn students with ADHD 

  • Mindful of instruction pace 

  • Mix difficult and tedious tasks to challenge students 

  • Using movement for smooth daily transitions 

Behavioral Intervention Ideas


Beneficial to reward appropriate behaviors such as...

  • Getting started 

  • Interacting in a polite ways with peers 

  • Following classroom rules 

  • Remaining quiet and seated 

  • Completing assigned work 

  • Transitioning 

  • Being prepared for class

  • Ect. 

* Over time, students will show more correct behaviors when using rewards 

* Use with combination of praise 

* Reward behaviors that benefit them (Ex - Completing work) and not only compliance (Ex - Remaining quiet and in seat) 


Low Involvement Strategies 

  • Some minor behaviors are able to be stopped with early low involvement strategies 

    • Ex - Calvin is talking during silent time. A teacher may be able to make eye contact, tap his shoulder or make a small gesture to have him quiet down and return back to his work.


Token Economy 

  • Tokens are distributed for appropriate classroom behaviors 

    • Items for sale by the teacher are priced and available for purchase with their earned tokens 


Instructional Tips for Students with ADHD

  • Make sure your instructions are 

    • Clear 

    • Complete 

    • Concise 

  • Have students repeat directions back to you 

  • Break up lengthy assignments into smaller tasks 

  • Use lots of active responding when giving instruction 

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