Kristi Kafka

Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Home FAQs


Since most of you know at least a little about AD/HD, I imagine what you are most interested to know is what you can do.  If you want to know more about AD/HD refer to the FAQs page.  Otherwise, see below for recommendations.

First and foremost, children with AD/HD need structure at home and school.  See below for specific ideas:

  1. Employ basic classroom management strategies (daily schedule, develop routines, provide structure, guide organization)
  2. Stand near child.
  3. Call on child, using his/her name.
  4. Develop a signal with the child to gain attention.
  5. Use visual aids and hands on activities.
  6. Provide frequent breaks.
  7. Partner with peer.
  8. Allow to work standing up.
  9. Allow small fidget item (textured ball, sandpaper taped on desk, fidget pen...
  10. Praise on-task behavior. 
  11. Other classroom strategies -
  12. Direct instruction - study skills, organizing learning materials, note taking, and reading strategies.
  1. Post a daily schedule and follow it.  Make it visual to increase the child's ability to remember it.
  2. Be organized!  Follow the motto - "Everything has a place, everything's in its place."
  3. Develop a consistent nighttime routine.  Turn down lights.  Decrease volume on tv or shut it off.  Quiet time.  Reading.
  4. Remove television from child's bedroom.  Try a fan instead.
  5. Praise desired behaviors.  "I like how you finished your chores first, then played."  "Thank you for waiting patiently."
  6. Schedule play time - make sure this is physical and allows child to wear off energy.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association -

National Institute of Mental Health -

ADD Resources -

Medications (great downloadable report)  -

Books for Kids

Gehret, Jeanne. (1991). Eagle eyes: A child's guide to paying attention (2nd ed.). Fairport, NY: Verbal images Press. (Grades 1-5, 40 pages)

Gordon, M. (1991). Jumpin' Johnny get back to work! A child's guide to ADHD/hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Available on videotape as well) (Grades 1-6)

Gordon, M. (1992). My brother's a world class pain: A sibling's guide to ADHD/hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Grades 1-8)

Gordon, M. (1993). I would if could: A teenager's guide to ADHD/hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Ages 1218)

Nadeau, K.G., & Dixon, E.B. (1991). Learning to slow down and pay attention. Annandale, VA: Chesapeake Psychological Publications. (Grades 3-6)

Nadeau, K.G., Dixon, E.B., & Biggs, S. (1993). School strategies for ADD teens. Annandale, VA: Chesapeake Psychological Publications. (Grades 6-12)

Quinn, Patricia, & Stern, Judith. (1991). Putting on the brakes: Young people's guide to understanding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). New York: Magination Press. (Ages 8-13)

Quinn, Patricia. (1991). Putting on the brakes: A child's guide to understanding and gaining control over attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). New York: Magination Press. (Ages 4-7)

Shapiro, L.E., & Parrotte, T. (111.). (1993). Sometimes I drive my mom crazy, but I know she's crazy about me: A self-esteem book for overactive and impulsive children. King of Prussia, PA: Center for Applied Psychology. (Grades K-6, 80 pages)



More books for kids

Caffrey, J.A. (1997). First star I see. Fairport, NY: Verbal Images Press. (Grades 6-8)

Carpenter, P., Ford, M., & Horjus, P. (Illust.). (2000). Sparkyís excellent misadventures: My A.D.D. journal, by me (Sparky). Washington, DC: Magination Press. (Ages 5-11)

Corman,C.L., & Trevino, E. (1995). Eukee the jumpy jumpy elephant. Plantation, FL: Special Press. (Preschool-3)

Galvin, M., & Ferraro, S. (Illust.). (1995). Otto learns about his medicine: A story about medicine for children with ADHD. Washington, DC: Magination Press. (Ages 4-8)

Gordon, M., & Junco, J.H. (Illust.). (1992). My brotherís a world class pain: A siblingís guide to ADHD-hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Grades 4 and up)

Janover, C. (1997). Zipper, the kid with ADHD. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. (Grades 3-6)

Nemiroff, M.A., Annunziata, J., & Scott, M. (Illust.). (1998). Help is on the way: A childís book about ADD. Washington, DC: Magination Press. (Ages 5-9)

Smith, M. (1997). Pay attention, Slosh! Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. (Grades 3-5)

Zimmert, D. (2001). Eddie enough! Bethesda, MD: Woodbine. (Ages 5-10).



Other Information

Effective Interventions

The two most effective interventions for reducing the symptomatic behaviors of ADHD are central nervous system (CNS) stimulant medications and behavior modification procedures. Although most adolescents respond positively to medication, the combined use of medication and behavioral interventions tends to yield the greatest improvement in their social skills and school performance.

Medication. CNS stimulants include methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), and mixed amphetamine compound (Adderall). Numerous studies have found that stimulants enhance attention, reduce impulsive behavior, and increase academic productivity among the majority of children and adolescents who are treated. For the most part, side effects are relatively benign and include appetite reduction, insomnia, headaches, and stomachaches. In very rare cases, motor or vocal tics may develop. Contrary to popular lore, stimulants are just as effective for adolescents as they are for younger children with ADHD. Further, adolescents who are treated with stimulant medication are at no higher risk for substance abuse than are untreated individuals. In fact, some research indicates that medicated students are less likely to abuse substances than students with ADHD who are not receiving medication (Wilens, Faraone, Biederman, & Gunawardene, 2003). There are anecdotal reports of adolescents possibly abusing stimulant medications, presumably after obtaining the latter from students with ADHD, so it may be prudent to have a school nurse or administrator dispense medication during the school day and to include these drugs as part of the school's overall drug and alcohol policy.

Several other psychotropic medications are available for those children who do not respond to stimulants or who experience significant side effects. These include atomoxetine (Strattera), bupropion (Wellbutrin), and clonidine (Catapres). The response to medication varies among individuals and requires ongoing monitoring to determine the optimal medication and dosage. Further, medication should always be used in combination with academic and behavioral interventions. It is advisable to have the school nurse and the school psychologist stay current with research related to medication and provide information to other staff members about this topic.

Behavioral interventions. There are two types of behavioral interventions- classroom and schoolwide-that can be implemented in secondary school settings. Classroom behavioral interventions involve systematic changes to antecedent events-activities occurring prior to a target behavior-or consequent events-activities that follow a target behavior. The most effective treatment plans are those that include a balance between antecedent-based and consequence-based procedures. Such interventions as behavioral contracts (e.g., earning privileges for appropriate school behavior) are particularly effective when they are used consistently in both the home and the school settings. There is some evidence that self-monitoring and self-evaluation strategies can be effective for adolescents with less severe ADHD symptoms. Self-monitoring may be particularly helpful in enhancing organization skills.

Schoolwide positive behavior support plans have the advantage of helping all students, not just those with ADHD, comply with school rules and engage in appropriate social interactions. Typically, these plans include a three-tiered disciplinary model ranging from schoolwide strategies for all students, specialized group strategies for at-risk students, and individualized interventions for students exhibiting high-risk behavior. Because of the severity of their behavior difficulties, students with ADHD may require the full range of interventions in this model. Other treatments that may benefit students with ADHD include academic interventions (e.g., direct instruction in areas of deficit) and training in note taking, study skills, and test-taking strategies.

(For the complete article from Principal Leadership Magazine, Vol. 5, Number 2, October 2004 by George J. DuPaul and George P. White see: