Blog #9 Children with ADHD


There have been many families who have asked us and have been interested in the Montessori method and how it could or could not be beneficial for their children with ADHD.

Montessori method.

The Montessori method is an educational method that was designed by María Montessori. It is based primarily on the objective observation of the child's behavior with the materials provided for its design. This method gives the child the freedom necessary for their development to occur in the most natural conditions possible, so that they can achieve the independence and self-control necessary for continuous, gradual learning adapted to their personal evolution. A key aspect of the method is what María called a 'prepared environment', in which the child takes charge of her learning, which allows her to achieve a good self-concept and self-esteem while developing her autonomy.

The 'prepared environment' consists of three fundamental aspects: the guide, the child and the material. The environment should be consistent with the physical characteristics of the child and conducive to motivation and development activities. Obviously, the fact that it is designed according to the characteristics of the child means that the furniture available is appropriate to the child's height, that it can gradually develop and acquire independence.

Another characteristic of the method is that it supports the reasoning that with the `external order` the` internal order` is formed, therefore everything in this environment has its logical and specific place and must be put in the same place once used. In this way we promote order and allow the child to acquire responsibilities on a daily basis.

The guide, another of the fundamental aspects of the 'prepared environment', performs the function of building a living environment, in which the objects that are present concretely represent the things we must learn. The fundamental role it plays is that of a model: it shows the material, in a careful, calm and orderly way so that it transmits serenity, understanding, etc. The aim is for the child to act in the same way.

The child has the need to learn, and that he cannot fake his learning rhythm, but it is natural and involuntary, so it can be frustrated if we try to accelerate or slow it down, so learning itself depends on the rhythm of the child, it does not come pre-established by a marked stage. When we respect their rhythm, we do not generate competition between the group of equals, of children, and we develop help between groups of different ages. The fact that the child learns by himself generates a situation of internal satisfaction that motivates and encourages him.

The freedom of learning that we speak of is achieved in part thanks to the characteristics of the sensory and manipulative material that María Montessori created, in addition to the spatial organization of which we have spoken in which each object has its specific place and must be placed in it. after use., so that we relate the order of things and the responsibility of the environmental situation.

The presentations of the learnings are usually made with manipulative material, although for certain learnings, daily tasks of daily life are carried out: setting the table, taking care of the plants, etc. Most of the material provides the child with self-correction on her own mistakes, without the need for the guide to carry out an external correction. This, evidently, favors the internal motivation of the child, since it is he himself who becomes aware of his mistakes and does not seek acceptance or the liking of anyone external, the guide, for example.


Next we are going to see how we can adjust the Montessori method to the different difficulties that children with ADHD usually present.

• Related to lack of self-control and impulsiveness.

• They get up frequently.

• Annoy or interrupt colleagues.

• Run around the school.

• Does not finish the proposed task.

• They present difficulties when it comes to consolidating learning that is more theoretical than experimental.

• Related to attention and working memory.

• Does not seem to listen.

• Problems maintaining attention.

• Distraction.

• Academic errors due to lack of attention.

• Difficulty in consolidating learning.

• Related to tolerance to frustration and desire for recognition.

• Fear of failure.

Emotional dependence.

• Difficulty self-motivated.

• Difficulty analyzing one's own feelings.

• Related to organizational and planning capacity.

• Forgets homework, school supplies, and test dates.

• Disruption of your table.

• Does not respect margins and spaces.

• Forgets questions on tests.

• Poor organizational skills.

• Related to classmates.

• They get angry due to low tolerance for frustration.

• Difficulty abiding by rules.

In the Montessori method, the usual work is carried out on the floor, so it requires a basic movement at work, a source to give way to the involuntary movement of children with ADHD. The fact that each child routinely develops a different job but at the same time, favors that there is no competition between them, thus reducing basic anxiety. The explanations about the task are short, and the guide uses manipulative material in them, so the child is 'forced' to maintain eye contact, thus reducing distracting stimuli. As there is no limited time for the execution of the task, the child does not feel the pressure with respect to his peers and feels fulfilled by himself, since he is seeing how little by little he is gaining agility in the execution of the tasks, improving your own times and reducing errors. Finally, as all the material is manipulative, the learnings are experimental and therefore significant.

Since they were little they are used to making objective evaluations of their work and their actions, not receiving criticism or praise from adults, so this system has intrinsic self-motivation and control of emotions and frustration since it is the objective that The goal is to develop the will and personal criticism, being they the only ones who must evaluate what they must change in order to feel fulfilled and satisfied. Little by little they reach that state of security, which gradually favors them being more autonomous and independent children, which goes hand in hand with being objective and empathetic with the social environment in which they live.

With regard to the environment, as in the Montessori method there is a specific space for each element, the organization and planning of the space as well as community membership are being favored, since no material is personal.

Rocío Meca Martínez.

Specialist in Therapeutic Pedagogy of the CADAH Foundation.



Navarro, J; Fernández, Mª Tª; Soto, F.J. and Tortosa F. (Coords.) (2012) Flexible responses in diverse educational contexts. Murcia: Ministry of Education, Training and Employment.