Students with ADHD have a number of behavioral challenges that can impact their success in school. Teachers and parents can help minimize these difficulties by developing a behavior plan to teach and encourage strategies that will help the students comply with age-level expectations. Like most types of special needs students, ADHD students can change their behavior and modify their course with the right kinds of guidance and motivation. There are four main areas of behavior that impact school success for these students, and a behavior plan can guide implementation of interventions to develop the self-control and self-monitoring needed for school improvement.

Identify Needs

Observe the student in class to determine specific behaviors that are causing difficulty. Four areas to assess are focus, organizational skills, time on task, and follow-through. Talk with teachers, parents, group leaders and other adults to understand exactly which behaviors are interfering with academic performance or classroom order.

Create a form to help you keep accurate records of behavior frequency and duration. An observation form will help you take complete notes.

Observe the student on several occasions and in several different settings. Use a stopwatch to measure behavior durations and a counter to keep track of discrete instances of a target behavior.

Analyze the data from the observations to choose the behavior to be modified. Choose the behavior that has the greatest impact on the student's success if changed.

Design a Behavior Plan

Set a goal for the behavior plan based on the prioritized list that you generated after your observations. A goal can be to increase or decrease a specific behavior, like time on task or inappropriate noises.

Write measurable, observable objectives as steps to achieving the larger goal. Objectives should be quantifiable. Everyone involved should be able to agree if the objective has been met or not.

Design appropriate interventions that will lead to fulfillment of the objectives. Examples of interventions include applying meaningful rewards or consequences, offering practical teaching or assistance, and modifying the task to make success more likely.

Implement the Behavior Plan

Apply the chosen interventions. For example, reward the student for increased time on task or for improved compliance with homework submission. Other examples include provision for increased teacher monitoring of notations about homework or providing cues for inappropriate behavior.

Keep detailed records. Only detailed records will help you determine if your objectives and goals are being met.

Evaluate and modify the plan as needed. Check progress on objectives at regular intervals, and if progress is not being made, modify objectives, interventions or consistency.