It's very characteristic of children with ADHD to do poorly in school because they forget to do their assignments, and/or forget to turn those assignments in to the teacher -- even when they've done them! Because their attention wasn't engaged throughout the instruction, children with ADHD don't remember a lot of what the teacher may have presented in class. Retention of information and recall of skills learned is erratic and inconsistent. In addition to building memory strategies, these children typically need accommodations for their memory weaknesses and should be allowed to use tools to bypass those weaknesses.
You or another adult should frequently monitor whether your child is working on long-term assignments (projects, book reports, etc.) systematically. This is one of the biggest academic difficulties for those with ADHD. These tips can make keeping track of assignments easier:
Use a big white board (dry-erase board) and colored marker at home to write down all projects and progress on the stages of the project.
Use a monthly calendar at home and school to enter all activities and projects due.
Use things-to-do lists and checklists on a daily basis at home and school.
Require that your child write down all assignments (preferably on an assignment calendar that is kept in one place).
Teach your child that you expect all assignments to be recorded, and make sure your child follows through. The teacher can initial your child's assignment calendar, or student partners can check and initial each other's assignment calendar.
Provide simple, written instructions and reminders of what your child needs to do.
Greatly increase positive feedback and reinforcement (rewards) when your child remembers important information.
Ask your child to paraphrase instructions or information to be remembered -- then check for his understanding and recall.
Remember to use color and pictures to help your child remember information.
After your child receives directions, she should tell someone (a partner, the person next to her, the teacher) what she is supposed to do.
Increase the amount of practice and review in a variety of formats.
Allow your child to use tools and aids such as multiplication charts and tables, and spell-check devices (such as Franklin Speller).
Encourage your child to use electronic organizers.
Avoid timed tests. Give your child extra time for recalling and responding.
Adapted from The ADD/ADHD Checklist by Sandra Rief, M.A.