How to Help an ADHD Child with Mathematics


Mathematics can be very challenging for children with ADHD. Their weaknesses with short-term memory mean that they often have difficulty in retrieving the basic principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They may not have learned the basic building blocks of mathematics, especially if their ADHD was diagnosed late. They struggle to hold numbers and information in their minds while they perform the calculation.

It is important to allow the other pupils in the class to move on at an appropriate rate, but to give the child with ADHD ways to gradually develop the basic building blocks. Try to help the pupil focus on mastering the basic principles and concepts rather than having to struggle with the difficulty of memorizing the skills and the numbers.

Child with Mathematics

You will find that your ADHD pupil’s work is often messy and he may have problems lining up numbers and putting columns in the correct place, as well as carrying numbers from one column to the next. This may be exacerbated by poor handwriting. The child may need support to write the numbers down, rather than doing the calculations in his head. This means he may miss steps and make careless errors while he rushes through the work.

It can be a good idea to modify mathematics assignments so that rather than doing all the problems, the pupil is asked to do every other problem. Try to reduce the amount of writing that is necessary and photocopy the pages for the child, possibly enlarging them to allow more room for his working out. The pupil may need to keep a model of the problem that is being solved written on a separate piece of paper or a coloured card so that he can refer back to it when he forgets.

In some situations a calculator with a display screen may be used once the pupil has grasped the basic concepts. He must, however, understand the basic mathematics skills, especially for trigonometry and algebra.

Other ways to help the pupil with ADHD struggling with mathematics include using mnemonics, allowing extra time for assignments and supporting organizational and sequencing skills.

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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