ADHD and social development at primary school

The development of personal skills in the early years helps children to understand how to interact with others. Your child with ADHD will have developed some of these skills, however the symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity and attention deficits will have an impact on potential interactions with other children, adults and those in the community.


Development of play, attention and self-regulation skills, in the early years and early on in primary school will help your child to learn to interact with others appropriately. Let’s have a look at a few ways of developing these skills:

Play skills

This involves a developmental set of skills, an ability to understand the rules of the games, negotiation and resilience skills. Involve your child in supervised turn taking games to teach them the expectations, how to respond when they want something and how to celebrate a win and manage losing.

Attention skills

Use of a timer in the first instance can assist with this. Engage your child in an activity for a period of time you think they will manage. Gradually increase the time, celebrate the achievements. Gradually give your children control of the timer and in doing this you are creating self-management skills and acknowledging that you have confidence in them to manage themselves.


First of all remember to catch your child doing great things and encourage this positive behaviour. to teach your child to manage their behaviour. They may need a visual to help them to identify what they are experiencing. A behaviour scale method is a possible way of doing this. Your child will need to be taught how to use this. It needs to be readily available for them to use and should be consistent in its use at home and school. It is also important to remember to separate the behaviour from the child; it is the behaviour that is unacceptable not the child.

It is the journey not the destination. These skills will take time to develop, your child wants to interact with others but just needs explicit teaching in how to do it. If your child has an associated learning disability of Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)  or an Intellectual Disability(ID)  further strategies will be required to help them develop these skills.

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