Classroom Accommodations for High Schoolers with ADHD

As symptoms of ADHD shift throughout adolescence, accommodations that may have helped your child when they were younger typically change over time. In high school, the class curriculum shifts from memorization to critical thinking skills, which requires a different approach. Many high schoolers with ADHD who have gotten by in elementary and middle school begin to struggle academically without adjusting classroom accommodations. 

Advocating for their Academic Needs

Although 20-30% of high schoolers with ADHD struggle with specific learning disabilities, ADHD itself is not considered a learning disorder. Teens with ADHD struggle with processing information based on how it is presented more so than with understanding concepts. While they may feel comfortable asking teachers for clarification on a certain topic, this does not address ongoing issues they may have with staying on task, organizing their thoughts, or keeping track of deadlines. 

One of the biggest barriers teens face in getting their academic needs met is knowing how to speak up and advocate for themselves. Instead, they may try a variety of creative ways to help them stay more focused. Although teens may be self-conscious that the way they learn best is different from other students, when they reach out to teachers, they can collaborate to come up with a plan that works for them and doesn’t make them feel singled out.

Ways to accommodate high schoolers with ADHD:


  • Check for understanding
  • Pair oral instructions with written instructions
  • Break down large assignments into smaller steps
  • Encourage class discussions
  • Include experiential learning, like playing games, having class outside, or using videos to help teens stay engaged



Integrating Emotional Support

Residential treatment centers, like Elevations RTC, are dedicated to helping students reach their highest academic potential by offering consistent support and engagement. Their academic programming is designed to empower students to identify their personal strengths and learning styles. Personal treatment plans incorporate academic goals by identifying ways to overcome barriers they face to staying engaged in a classroom setting, like low self-esteem, poor organization, and difficulty paying attention. 

Academic programming at Elevations RTC includes:

  • Small classroom sizes
  • Daily study hall after traditional school hours
  • Team teachers work closely with the clinical team and offer advising for students
  • Weekly Academic Intervention to help teens stay on track with assignments
  • Positive reinforcement for earning class credit, with Activity Days at the end of every term
  • SAT prep and testing, as a certified SAT test center
  • Option for 1:1 tutoring or special education classes with a certified teacher

Elevations Can Help

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with ADHD and other mental health issues that have affected their academic performance. At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students.

For more information about academic programming for teens with ADHD at Elevations RTC, please call .