Thriving With ADHD

A Better Way To Learn For Students With ADHD


At the Leelanau School we flip labels on their heads. We embrace the gifts of our students with ADHD, and support learning through strategies that nurture independence, confidence, and success.

In a traditional school setting, learning is often a passive experience, with knowledge shared in a one-size-fits-all package designed around a standardized test. Research has shown that this is not the ideal learning environment for any student – but for kids with ADHD, it can be especially stressful and counterproductive. Students in this environment can internalize the worst possible lesson: that they don’t like to learn.

At Leelanau we get it. Learning is different here. It is active, interactive, and hands-on. Students can move, explore, inquire, and experience. This is how we engage the active and energetic minds of our students – especially those with ADHD.

In short, we offer a Better Way To Learn.

Surviving and thriving in the 21st Century will require adaptability – the ability to learn. By helping our students rediscover the joy of learning, we instill habits that create lifelong learners, individuals who are ready to tackle any challenge that the future throws at them.

Here are nine ways that our team supports ADHD learners: Leelanau Sailing

  1. We engage students – Lessons are active, hands-on and relevant using project-based and experiential methods. Students are immersed in learning, allowing them to make connections, draw on their own knowledge, and apply what they are learning.
  2. Individual attention – Learning Specialists identify “learning gaps,” and help students develop and practice skills that encourage them to learn how to learn.
  3. Small class sizes minimize distractions, allow teachers to give individual attention and make each student more accountable.
  4. Lessons in personal organization, including use of a planner, help students develop and maintain an organizational system that suits them. Students are guided to use their planners to keep track assignments and break down longer term projects into manageable steps.
  5. Promoting a healthy diet – Diet plays a very important role in student performance. Delicious and nutritious meals are prepared in our cafeteria, with breakfast and lunch attendance required and dinner encouraged. Students have access to healthy snacks during the school day and sugary drinks are not permitted in the Academic Building or Student Center. (Learn more about how our nutritional program supports learning goals at the Leelanau School.)
  6. A daily schedule built around learning – A consistent routine helps promote accountability. Check out our daily schedule.
  7. Healthy mornings – Our day begins with a “Morning Energize” to wake up our bodies and brains before our first class.
  8. Physical Activity – Students participate in a daily afternoon activity of their choosing. Studies have repeatedly shown a strong connection between physical activity and academic performance. Check out CDC Report.
  9. Healthy Sleep Habits – Getting enough sleep can sometimes be a challenge for individuals with ADHD, which can worsen ADHD symptoms. Our residence life staff creates an environment that encourages the right amount of sleep. In the evening students transition into low lights, with lights dimmed and screens put away. We actively encourage students to sleep for the recommended 9 to 9 ½ hours.

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