Strategies to Support Writing with ADHD


Writing poses challenges for many individuals with ADHD and/or executive functioning (EF) challenges. One prior post on this blog discussed the many skills required for writing, all of which can be impacted by ADHD and EF issues. Another prior post outlined five strategies, supporting the writing process, that can be explicitly taught to students:

  • Assist idea generation
  • Assist to organize thoughts
  • Teach writing formats
  • Assist to extend and enrich written work
  • Explicitly teach editing/proof-reading


This blog post continues the discussion on how to support students with ADHD in improving the ease and efficiency of writing by identifying four general strategies of benefit:

1) Strategies to address handwriting concerns, common with ADHD

  • Allow younger children preference of cursive or printing
  • Teach typing early
  • Dictate short assignments to a parent
  • Use speech to text software
  • Allow typed assignments – typed writing is also easy to edit later
  • Encourage use of a portable word processor/lap-top in class
2) Strategies to promote focus on writing projects
  • Break assignment into small, manageable pieces (“chunks”)
  • Set timer for reasonable period of focus
  • Permit standing at a counter to write, or sitting on yoga ball
  • Encourage breaks – exercise helps! – between writing sessions
  • Reward small increments of progress!
3)  Technology to support the writing process: examples
  • Type to Learn, Typing Quick & Easy, Typing Instructor…
  • Inspiration/Kidspiration  (visual mapping/brainstorming)
  • Word Q & Speak Q (word prediction & speech recognition)
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking (speech to text)
  • Kurzweil Reader (text to speech & several writing tools)
4) Accommodations to level the playing-field
  • Allow extra time for written work
  • Provide grading only on content, or …
  • Provide separate grades for content and spelling, grammar, punctuation
  • Reduce writing requirements: shorter assignments
  • Allow alternative formats for demonstrating knowledge and thinking
  • Allow portable word processor/lap-top in class
  • Provide a note-taker in class, or teacher’s notes
photo credit: Suat Eman,
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