Teaching Strategies

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

These students may be easily distracted, impulsive, hyperactive and inconsistent. Some may daydream; some may have difficulty completing tasks; others may be disorganized and forgetful. Procrastination, difficulty with time management and mood swings are usually prevalent. These students are often highly creative, intelligent, intuitive and have the ability to hyper-focus. The following strategies are suggested to enhance the accessibility of course instruction, materials and activities. They are general strategies designed to support individualized, reasonable accommodations, but may not be appropriate for everyone.

  • Have copies of the syllabus ready up to two months prior to the beginning of classes so that textbooks can be ordered from a national reading service.
  • Assist the student with finding an effective note-taker from the class.
  • Allow the student to record lectures.
  • Students benefit from the use of visual aids, handouts and any multimedia approach. Therefore, allow the use of spell check and grammar-assistive devices for in-class work, or do not lower grades for in-class errors.
  • Provide extended time for quizzes, tests and/or exams.
  • Allow time for clarification of directions and essential information.
  • Provide a quiet, separate place to take tests.
  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students; avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class.

Auditory Processing

Some students may have difficulty integrating information presented orally, so they may not be able to follow the logic and organization of a lecture. To help compensate for this deficiency, it may be appropriate to:

  • Allow the student to use a note-taker.
  • Outline class presentations and write new terms and key points on the board/overhead projector.
  • Permit a student to record the class so they can listen to the class discussion more than once.
  • Repeat and summarize segments of each presentation and review its entirety.
  • Provide students with a written copy of major points, models, outlines, instructions, etc.
  • Keep auditory distractions (e.g., background noise from the hallway) to a minimum.
  • Review key points and encourage the student to repeat.
  • Encourage students to ask questions about anything you have discussed.
  • In dealing with abstract concepts, paraphrase them in specific terms and illustrate them with concrete examples, personal experiences, hands-on models and visual tools, such as charts and graphs.


Because of perceptual difficulties, some students with disabilities are slow to respond appropriately or grasp social cues. They may have difficulty with sustained attention or may lack social skills. If these problems result in classroom interruptions or other disruptions, it is advisable that you discuss the matter privately with the student and, if necessary, with the director of Academic Success.

Blind/Visually Impaired

  • Record a detailed syllabus, or email an electronic version to the student.
  • Provide textbook titles up to two months prior to the beginning of classes so textbooks can be ordered from a national reading service.
  • Provide students with materials in alternative formats at the same time the materials are given to the rest of the class -- the student must request the format type (large print or type).
  • Repeat aloud what is written on the board or presented on overheads and in handouts.
  • Permit the students to record lectures for review and reinforcement.
  • Provide supplements to films, such as sound tapes and oral summaries.
  • Accept a tape recording of written assignments, when appropriate.
  • Provide electronic versions or good quality, large font photocopies of class handouts.
  • Allow students to sit near the front of the classroom.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • Reserve a front-row seat for the student and make seating arrangements for an interpreter, if necessary.
  • Provide breaks in classes exceeding standard class periods of 50 to 75 minutes to accommodate the physical needs of the interpreter, if necessary.
  • Position yourself three to four feet away from the student. This is optimal for speech reading and for hearing aid use. Also, the student will probably monitor your facial expressions and body language to support the interpreted message.
  • Speak at your normal pace. The interpreter or student will ask you to make adjustments if necessary.
  • Make clear transitions during lecture. For example, when referring to an outline, instead of saying "this" or "here," number the items on the chalkboard and refer to line numbers.
  • Use captioned films whenever possible.
  • Use visual examples when explaining concepts; keep terminology consistent.
  • Reinforce oral directions with written ones or with other visual cues.
  • Provide the student with lecture notes, class outlines, printed transcripts of audio/visual materials and lists of new technical terms when possible.
  • Use an overhead projector; it permits you to write material that can be seen by students while you continue to face the class.
  • In group discussions, explain to the class the importance of taking turns so that one student is talking at a time. This will help the interpreter, as they are physically unable to interpret more than one response at a time.
  • When asking a question to the class, wait for the interpreter to complete the question before taking answers so that the hard-of-hearing student has an opportunity to answer.
  • Repeat or rephrase questions and comments brought up by other class members so that the hard-of-hearing student does not miss valuable portions of class discussion.
  • When showing videos that are not closed-captioned, make sure that the room has enough light to enable the student to see the interpreter. Also, provide a written outline or summary of information covered.
  • Supply a list of technical terminology and unfamiliar words/terms to the student and interpreter.
  • Be aware that it may be difficult for the student to check tests when the professor is giving the answers orally. Provide a handout of the answers or put them on the overhead projector.
  • Post notice of class cancellations, assignments, etc. on the board, overhead projector, Canvas, etc.
  • Notify the interpreter of scheduling changes or class cancellations as far in advance as possible to facilitate interpreter scheduling and billing.
  • Communicate with the student in writing if an interpreter is not available.