Can schools help children with behavior disorders and ADHD?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Schools play a big role in helping kids with behavior disorders and ADHD. Behavioral approaches in the classroom for children with ADHD are well established. Schools can develop educational programs that fit the needs of your child and provide access to a counselor who can work with your child one-on-one. Not to mention, you and your child’s teacher can team up and share techniques and strategies for helping your child. We know what works, but teachers need to be trained in these techniques. If your child’s teacher hasn’t been trained, he may need some education. If you’re lucky, you and your child’s teacher can team up and share what you’ve learned to help your child learn and make friends at school.


Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine

Many schools offer support for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and behavior disorders. Approximately 25% to 50% of children with ADHD have a co-existing behavior disorder. Most commonly, these are oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). Behavior disorders can be disruptive in the school setting, leading to fights, anger management issues, and other antisocial actions and attitudes. Schools may use behavior modification techniques to address issues with problem behaviors in children with ADHD. The National Resource Center on ADHD reports that a carefully planned classroom structure might positively influence children with ADHD and behavior disorders. Behavior modification strategies, including a system of rewards and consequences, can be used, as well as the following:

  • Fostering a supportive classroom environment
  • Encouraging healthy communication and peer relationships
  • Being clear and specific regarding behavior expectations in the classroom
  • Addressing problem behaviors promptly

For children with severe conduct problems, a treatment team may be necessary to address problem behaviors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.