8 Essential School Supplies for Children with ADHD

If you haven’t already bought school supplies, now is the time.  But what do you buy?  Sometimes teachers and schools send out supply lists, and sometimes you are on your own to decide.  Below, I am going to suggest some supplies that could be helpful to a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

  • Color coding

If green is the color you choose for science then get a green folder to match it.  Discuss with your child what each color association can be.  Red, for example, can be a subject you really love.  If your child comes up with these, they will be more likely to remember them.  You can even keep the colors the same year after year to make it even easier for them.

  • Watch with an alarm

This works well for an older child, and make sure to sync it with the school bell on the first day.  If a child only has two minutes to change classes, for example, the alarm can be there guide to speed things up along the way. It can also be helpful to keep them on track in the classroom if used properly.  Be wary, however, of one with too many functions as this could be more of a distraction.  Cell phones can also be used for alarms, calendars, and even note taking.

  • Writing instruments

You can never have too many writing supplies, and since they are on sale now try to stock up for the school year.  Have one pen taped to the inside of their locker as an emergency back up too.  Please don’t send them with all the writing supplies on the first day.  Keep some at home near their homework area too.  Maybe you can even try to find a way to Velcro a pen to their notebook to prevent it from getting lost.

  • Grippers

Children with ADHD can often struggle with penmanship.  Helping your child write more legibly may be a matter of getting the correct pen/pencil gripper.  Local stores have a variety.  Find one that works best for your child.  Also keep in mind that younger children (Pre-K-2nd) need fatter pencils for better grip.  Hopefully, your child’s teacher can be flexible with having things typed instead of written when possible too.  If you don’t know this, ask.  If the writing problem seems more significant and does not improve with different strategies, you may want to consult an occupational therapist for an evaluation.

  • Laminated schedule

For older children, laminate their schedule so it is durable and can be easily found on the front of a binder for example.  It is critical that your child knows where they are going, especially as they get older and teachers expect them to be on time for class despite overcrowded halls.  If you can color code it to match the notebook color it’s even better!

  • Label everything

This can be a joint effort as the first day of school approaches.  Make sure to label all supplies and even clothing.  I’ve seen the lost and found bin in many schools, and if you want items back make sure they are labeled.  You can even label pencils with a smiley face sticker.

  • Clear pencil case

This will hopefully contain some of the other supplies.  It is important to practice putting things back into the case at home with your child after homework is finished.  Younger children will need help organizing their bookbags for the next day and clearing out any loose papers.  Older children will need help with this but try to talk them through it so it builds this skill.

  • Big eraser

Everyone makes mistakes.  Children with ADHD tend to make careless mistakes on their school work.  It could be because they are rushing to be finished.  Whatever the reason, make sure they have what they need to correct the errors they see when reviewing their work.

Most importantly, do what works for you and your child.  These are just suggestions, and they can and should be modified to meet your specific needs.  Use what works and toss the rest.  Please make sure to check with your child’s teachers about their progress along the way so there are no surprises later on.  Small steps can go a long way to prevent a problem at report card time.  Hope you and your child(ren) have a wonderful school year!