high school student with adhd carrying a lot in his arms

ADHD in School: The Impact on Students

ADHD or ADD (as it was formerly called) can have a profound impact on a child’s academic progress. As demands increase in high school, students can quickly become overwhelmed.

Students with ADHD can miss important information or directions leading to inaccurate work or poor test performance. Even something as minor as forgetting to write their name or the date can result in a failing grade.

They can make simple mistakes on long calculations, leave completed work at home, or get lost in the steps of a long project. All of this can be very frustrating in traditional environments.

ADHD in School: The Disadvantages of Traditional Schools

Traditional public and private schools are often at a loss in helping students with ADHD. Teachers often lack understanding and their class sizes limit their ability to help these students.

In fact, an ADHD student can be labeled as a poor student – unmotivated, lazy or a behavior problem. The consequences can lead to depression, leaving school, and lack of opportunity to achieve. For some, the only answer is a specialized school for ADHD students

ADHD in High School vs Middle School

As ADHD students advance through school, the support they receive decreases. In middle school, students continue to receive some supports such as prompts to use their planners or help organizing a binder.

When students enter high school those supports fall away. They are expected to stay on top of tasks, plan for longer projects, and self-direct their learning. Often high school is when ADHD students become overwhelmed and begin to fail.

Bayhill Is a Specialized Private High School for ADHD Students

At Bayhill, we understand the challenges students with ADHD can face.

  • Our highly trained teachers, small class size, and individualized instruction can mean success for students who have struggled in traditional environments.
  • We combine effective instruction and specific strategies and tools to empower our students to achieve to their full potential.

How we Help Students with ADHD 

Students with ADHD have difficulty paying attention resulting in missed instruction. They can struggle with planning, organization and time management. ADHD students might forget details or make careless mistakes. Some fidget or need movement breaks to stay focused. Bayhill teachers are experienced at accommodating students and teaching effective strategies.

Here are some common challenges for ADHD students that Bayhill can help solve:

Difficulty sustaining attention

Sustaining attention, especially for non-preferred activities can result in missed opportunities for valuable content.

  • We instruct students using auditory, visual and hands-on lessons that increase student engagement.
  • Our small class size allows teachers to prompt students and check for understanding before moving on.
  • We give students options other than traditional tests to demonstrate their understanding. For example, students might write a song around a theme in MacBeth or create a stop-animation film with Legos to portray a key event in history.


Some students may become distracted by sounds, sights or other sensory input.

  • By maintaining small class size, we limit distractions and quickly refocus students.
  • Use of noise cancellation devices or headphones for music can help some students.

Poor Organization or forgetting/losing assignments

Messy backpacks and an overflowing folder of random papers are all too common for ADHD students.

  • From day one, students at Bayhill are guided to develop these important executive functions, such as organization.
  • All students learn to use Google Apps for Education to organize, complete and store their work, which we’ve found to be one of the most highly successful strategies for ADHD students.
  • Students check homework assignments and upcoming tests in Jupiter Grades which means they always know what is due and when, so they can more easily plan their homework schedule.
  • Graphic organizers help them to write essays and complete long-term projects.
  • Best of all, these tools are used in every classroom, by every teacher!

Poor time management

Bayhill teaches students the importance of managing time.

  • Students learn strategies such as making lists, estimating time, and using timers to stay on track with work completion.
  • Students learn how to effectively prioritize non-preferred and preferred activities to ensure their time is spent wisely.

Making careless mistakes

We understand that all of us make mistakes.

  • We teach students to check their work, ask for assistance, and be willing to correct errors.
  • We teach students that mistakes are opportunities to learn, but we only learn if we evaluate and fix them.

Fidgeting or need to move

The restless energizer bunny is welcome at Bayhill.

  • We allow our students to use fidgets in class so long as they do not distract themselves or others.
  • Students are allowed a movement break during each class, by taking a chill pass and walking around for a brief time before returning to class.
  • Some students find that drawing helps them to focus as they listen to instruction or discussions, which we also allow

At Bayhill, we don’t penalize students because they have ADHD

We want them to understand who they are, how they learn, and what tools work best. Our specialized approach makes us one of the best schools for ADHD students in the Bay Area.

Bayhill graduates have found success in high school, college and career.

To learn more about Bayhill High School, join us for an Open House or Tour & Talk. Complete an inquiry form and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.