Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are syndromes that present a challenge in the classroom but can be managed successfully. Understanding the disorder coupled with appropriate modifications in teaching method and teacher-student interactions allow the ADD/ADHD child to thrive in the classroom. ADD/ADHD is characterized by diminished attention span, impulsive behavior and sometimes hyperactivity. It is a chronic disorder that can begin at birth and continues through adulthood. For educational purposes, ADD/ADHD is diagnosed by testing criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Three specific areas are tested: attention span, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

If the disorder is diagnosed modifications in the classroom setting and teaching style are warranted. Success for the ADD/ADHD student and his or her teacher begins with establishing a good learning environment. The key to teaching this student is to avoid distracting stimuli. Seating in the classroom, frequent eye-to-eye contact, routine activity are key.

When assigning classwork or homework, the teacher should remember that attention span is a problem for the ADD/ADHD child. Instructions should be clear, concise and as simple as possible. An assignment notebook can be very helpful. It can organize the student thoughts and allows the teacher to know that the student understands. Supervision and discipline can be another stumbling block for the teacher of an ADD/ADHD student. Maintaining control is necessary but maintaining the child's self esteem is crucial to his or her development.

Misbehavior should have predetermined consequences. Consequences should be delivered immediately, consistently and in a calm manner. Make sure the child understands without arguing or debating the issue. ADD/ADHD children are frequently in trouble resulting in poor self esteem. To teach this child effectively, the teacher must find ways to encourage learning.

All good behavior and performance should be praised and rewarded when appropriate. Teaching social skills and boosting self esteem is critical to the successful education of the ADD/ADHD student.