Learning Strategies for ADHD

Girl painting and smiling 
A learning strategy is a plan or steps to take when learning something. Learning strategies can help children acquire and retain knowledge.

Learning strategies can be simple or complex. They include:

  • strategies for specific academic areas, such as reading comprehension strategies or math problem-solving strategies
  • general cognitive strategies that help students process, retrieve, or manipulate information, such as note-taking, making a chart, or outlining an essay
  • metacognitive strategies that help students set goals, plan, or monitor and evaluate progress

It is important for children to realize that:

  • there is a connection between what they do (for example, making a list of points to review for a test) and outcome (for example, a test score)
  • there are many ways to solve a problem or reach a goal
  • some methods work better than others

When faced with a problem, students need to think about:

  • what they know
  • what they want to know
  • what strategies they can use to reach their goals
  • which strategy to try first

Children with ADHD often have trouble developing and using learning strategies. They can become more effective students when they are taught learning strategies, as well as why, when, and where to use them. Detailed information for teachers is available on the TeachADHD web site.

More information

Children with ADHD also struggle with managing time and organizing books and papers. This section discusses strategies that children can use to:

  • plan and manage time
  • avoid procrastination
  • organize their work
  • complete homework

Click the links on the left to learn more.

Tara McAuley, PhD, CPsych

Peter Chaban, MA, MEd

Rosemary Tannock, PhD