Students with learning disabilities, sensory processing problems, ADHD or visual perception difficulties can have problems attending to classroom activities and their teachers. By implementing some specific strategies in the classroom teachers can assist with engaging students and helping them to attend and process information better.

Quick tips for the classroom:

  • Structuring and positioning the classroom desks and providing access for the teacher to move around the room will help students to focus on the activities and assist the teacher engaging the students.
  • If children are visually distracted, minimizing the amount of students in front of them and positioning them in the front row would be of benefit.
  • Removing unnecessary distractions around their desk helps to keep them focused or positioning them away from windows where they could be visually distracted.
  • Keep the directions clear and to the point. Deliver instructions with minimal steps or provide visual instructions cards particularly if students have difficulty with processing multi-step instructions.
  • Provide follow up directions in writing and highlight or underline key words.
  • Ask the student to repeat the instructions or check in with the student to ensure all information/instructions were processed correctly.
  • Use a handout with key points about the lecture or topic.
  • Providing movement breaks within the classroom. Giving time to stand and stretch to increase arousal levels can assist with maintaining attention in the classroom. Opportunity for a movement break can be provided when handing out books, collecting canteen lunches, giving out handouts, writing on the board, transitioning to a different position in the classroom.
  • Develop classroom signals to let students know when its time to really focus their attention.
  • Vary teaching styles throughout the lesson e.g. show information through using visual graphs, charts, apps or software. Incorporate movement, drama, music or experiments. Provide a variety of ways for students demonstrate their learning through projects, presentations, speeches or small group activities.
  • Provide the student with age appropriate fidget and/or sensory seeking tools.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute advice to a child or carer’s particular circumstances. Tip sheets are not intended to replace professional therapy services.

If you have any questions or would like additional information contact Grace Children’s Therapy on 1300 760 779.