How ADHD Tutoring Can Help Your Student

Bonus Material: PrepMaven’s Weekly Academic Planner

Over 5 million children in the US between the ages of 3 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD, representing almost 10% of all US children. While students with ADHD routinely succeed as well as students without it, they do face unique challenges to their academic success. 

In our 20+ years of academic, test prep, and college essay coaching, we’ve had experience working with countless students who have ADHD, guiding them along to improving their grades, maximizing test scores, and earning admission into top universities. 

Over that time, we’ve gotten to know what works and what doesn’t, as well as how tutoring can play an especially important role for students with ADHD. 

In this post, we’ll cover how tutoring can be tailored specifically to help a student with ADHD, what you should expect from ADHD-specialized tutoring, and what sorts of results you can see when working with private tutors. We’ll also explain our own methods and what we’ve seen work for students in the past. 

Below, you can download our free weekly academic planning tool. While most students won’t use this on their own at first, it can be a great tool to implement when working with a tutor!

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How Does ADHD Tutoring Differ From Regular Academic Tutoring?
Our Approach to ADHD Tutoring
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Every tutoring company has their own approach, of course, but we want to speak to some general best practices that can help students with ADHD. 

The difficulty is that many students with ADHD struggle both with the content of a course and with the higher-level organizational and executive functioning skills needed to manage assignments, stay prepared for upcoming tests, and stay on top of longer-term projects. 

So, in essence, good ADHD tutoring tackles both aspects of the problem. On one hand, it helps your student develop the knowledge and skills they need for a particular class, as it would for any student struggling with some material. 

Of course, this academic-focused aspect of the tutoring should take into account the student’s specific needs. An experienced ADHD tutor will be able to tailor their approach to the student’s learning style, which might include strategies like: 

  • Hands-on learning approaches
  • A mix of visual and auditory learning resources 
  • A focus on positive reinforcement and confidence building
  • Games and exercises for younger students 
  • Variation in exercises for older students.

All of this will depend on the individual student and tutor, and what methods the tutor finds work best in each specific case. The goal, however, is the same: to help the student catch up with old content and master new content while keeping them focused on the task at hand. 

But that’s only half of the work. Often, students with ADHD or other learning differences might master the concepts themselves, but struggle with the organizational aspects of keeping their grades up.

This is what we call “executive functioning,” which is the skillset encompassing all of those little sub-tasks that many students do without thinking about them:

  • Managing online school portals and communication
  • Keeping track of due dates
  • Planning out a study schedule
  • Turning assignments in on time and in the right format
  • Keeping school materials organized and accessible

All of these skills are crucial to academic achievement: it doesn’t matter how well a student knows the content if they don’t turn in the homework! That’s why our tutors often use our weekly academic planning toolto help students stay organized and productive. 

Proper ADHD tutoring incorporates this kind of work into the tutoring session alongside academic support. 

A good tutor will teach the student the material and work with them to ensure that they hand in assignments on time, develop clear plans to prepare for tests/projects, and stay organized. 

In a nutshell, that’s what a good ADHD tutoring program entails: specialized academic skills support combined with a focus on executive functioning, time management, and organizational skills. 

That’s why matching a student with ADHD to the right private tutor is so crucial. If you’re looking for tutoring for a student with ADHD, look into how students are paired with tutors–often, large tutoring companies put very little thought into student-tutor pairings. 

At PrepMaven, we collect detailed information about every student before our team meets to discuss the ideal tutor for their needs. If you’re interested in learning more about our tutor matching process, reach out to us anytime. 

While each tutoring session might look a little different, we’ve developed an overall approach that has worked for countless students, from those still in elementary school to those taking their SATs and ACTs. 

We believe that finding the right tutor-student fit is paramount for ADHD tutoring. A good tutor won’t just teach: they’ll help your student build confidence and feel supported. 

After a student is matched with an appropriate tutor–one who is experienced and knowledgeable about working with students who have ADHD–we make sure that the tutor has all of the information needed about the student’s learning style, any accommodations or special needs, and general interests and personality. 

From there, sessions primarily focus on the content (whether that’s academic, test prep, or college application essays) that the student needs support in. 

Many other companies pitch tutoring sessions that focus exclusively on organizational and time management skills, but we believe that risks leaving students underprepared for what they actually need to know. 

So, all of our tutors are subject-area experts with a deep knowledge of whatever material they teach. Those tutors who work with students who have ADHD ensure that they also know how to tailor their approaches to the unique challenges faced by these students. 

But the session doesn’t just focus on the content. Time is always set aside to engage in proactive planning and organization. A tutor might help a student put together a color-coded calendar with reminders for when to study and hand in assignments. 

Or, a tutor might use the last portion of a session to check the student’s school portal alongside the student, ensuring that all assignments have been handed in. Or else help the student come up with a better organizational system for school materials. 

All of this combines immediate, practical academic coaching with long-term habit building. Our tutors don’t just tell students how to be organized or manage their assignments: they actually help them do these things in session. 

At the same time, they lay the groundwork for lifelong habits that will help students manage the academic hurdles caused by ADHD. 

If you’d like to try out our approach or hear more about our methods, contact us–and see why we have a track record of perfect 5-star reviews from over two decades of private instruction. 

Whether it comes to grades, test scores, or college essays, students with ADHD face particular challenges to their success. With the proper resources, these students excel in all of these areas, but getting that proper support is often crucial. 

If you’re looking for support for a student with ADHD, we recommend ensuring that whatever private tutoring service you choose explicitly prioritizes combining content support with specialized executive functioning and organizational skills coaching. 

To help your student stay organized, we recommend getting them into the habit of using a tool like the free weekly planner linked below. These kinds of tools work best when used in conjunction with tutoring!

Of course, we’d recommend contacting our team to see if one of our experienced tutors is the right fit for your student–hundreds of families have already made that choice and seen tremendous results! 

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Mike is a PhD candidate studying English literature at Duke University. Mike is an expert test prep tutor (SAT/ACT/LSAT) and college essay consultant. Nearly all of Mike’s SAT/ACT students score in the top 5% of test takers; many even score above 1500 on the SAT. His college essay students routinely earn admission into their top-choice schools, including Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth. And his LSAT students have been accepted In into the top law schools in the country, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Law.