Starting at the new school

Coping with change

Starting at the new school

This section helps parents, carers and teachers to agree how to: 

  • Overcome common challenges when children with ADHD start a new school
  • Review early progress at the new school.

On this page:

  1. Overcoming common challenges ↓
  2. Building relationships ↓

Overcoming common challenges

All children face different challenges when they start at a new school. By recognising what these challenges involve for the child, parents/carers and teachers can provide support during the early weeks at the new school.

This short coaching tool looks at some of the most common challenges and how teachers can help. 

Overcoming common challenges

A coaching tool that looks at some of the most common challenges a child faces when starting a new school and how teachers can help

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This discussion guide can help teachers, parents and carers agree how to review the child’s early progress at the new school.

Reviewing progress at a new school (for use by parents)

A discussion guide to help parents and carers agree with teachers how to review the child’s early progress at the new school

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Reviewing progress at a new school (for use by teachers)

A discussion guide to help teachers to agree with parents and carers how to review the child’s early progress at the new school

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Building relationships

At the same time as getting used to new school systems and methods of learning, a child with ADHD will need to develop relationships with new teachers and other children.

To help children explain new relationships it may help for them to draw the people they have met in the form of a ‘gallery’. This can help them to discuss their impressions of each new person. The following tool can help them to do this.

People I have met

A tool to help children identify and discuss their impressions of the new people they meet

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Challenges in the relationship with teachers

Building a supportive relationship between teacher and child is crucial. Teachers can help to establish a positive relationship through providing practical support in a number of different ways, as part of teaching practice, for example:

  • Pace lessons to maintain attention and engagement and allow frequent questions
  • Avoid singling children out for special attention in front of the class
  • Aim to identify areas of interest for the child
  • Encourage teamwork
  • Where possible, give the child with ADHD additional time to complete tasks
  • Recognise that lack of effort or desire is not necessarily the reason behind a child’s poor performance.

Challenges in friendships

Teachers can also actively support the child with ADHD in building relationships with other children, for example:

  • Using pair work for projects
  • Monitoring break times and lunchtimes to help prevent bullying
  • Avoiding children picking their own teams due to potential discrimination
  • Avoiding trying to `force’ friendships between children.
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References 

Coghill D, et al. Child Adol Psychiatry Mental Health 2008; 2(1): 31.

O’Regan F. How to teach and manage children with ADHD (2010). Nottingham, UK: LDA.

These materials have been produced with practical advice and guidance provided by the expert European ADHD Awareness Taskforce.

Resources