why does an ADHD child refuse to do homework

4 Reasons an ADHD Child Might Refuse to Do Homework


why does an ADHD child refuse to do homework

Why Does an ADHD Child Refuse to Do Homework?

Around 6 million children in the United States had been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2016 (according to CDC).


Children with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may encounter several obstacles in their daily lives, such as poor time management skills, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulty paying attention. 


Completing homework assignments is one of the most commonly reported challenges faced by children with ADHD. Each child with ADHD may have varying symptoms that hinder them from starting work.


So it is essential to understand the difficulties and various symptoms to help them engage with homework. 


Understanding ADHD and its Impact on Schoolwork

What is ADHD and its Core Symptoms?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children and adults alike. The diagnosis of ADHD is based on three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is important to note that it is diagnosed in childhood and does not appear out of the blue in adulthood.


But detecting the signs can be difficult. Among these, refusing homework is a major sign of an ADHD child. The following issues may be at play at the core:

  • Problems with focus and attention
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts
  • Procrastinating due to perceived difficulty of the task at hand
  • Feelings of frustration and discouragement due to repeated failure

Note that the severity of the symptoms may vary from one child to another.

How ADHD Affects Concentration, Organization, and Motivation

People with ADHD have difficulty filtering out distractions. As a result, they could also need help switching their focus from one task to another.


Concentration is the fundamental aspect affected by ADHD. Individuals with this condition struggle to concentrate on anything for an extended period, leading to poor performance at school or work.


They may also find it challenging to stay engaged in conversations and often need to remember what others said just moments ago. Additionally, they may make careless mistakes due to a lack of concentration, which can cause frustration and low self-esteem.


Organizing tasks can be a daunting task for individuals who struggle with ADHD. They may find it challenging to manage time effectively or prioritize tasks based on importance leading them to feel overwhelmed easily.

why does an ADHD child refuse to do homework

Specific Challenges That ADHD Children Face in Completing Schoolwork

Academic struggles are common for children with ADHD due to difficulty focusing and completing homework assignments. Parents, teachers, and caregivers must recognize the significance of addressing homework completion issues in these children. 


The primary obstacle faced by ADHD children in finishing schoolwork is maintaining concentration and attention. They may face challenges initiating or staying on task as they are easily distracted by internal or external stimuli. 


Furthermore, they may struggle to sustain attention for extended periods or switch between tasks. Consequently, they may need more time management skills to complete assignments.


Reasons Why Does an ADHD Child Refuse to Do Homework?

1. Lack of interest and perceived difficulty

Children with ADHD may struggle with homework due to a lack of interest. It may emerge from perceiving the subject matter to be difficult. This feeling of overwhelm can lead to frustration and avoidance of completing assignments altogether. 

Teachers can support students with ADHD by breaking down assignments into manageable parts. It can help the ADHD child stay more organized with their approach and extra time. At the same time, parents can create a supportive environment at home to spark the child’s interest.

2. Overwhelm and anxiety

The pressure to excel at academics can heighten the anxiety in students with ADHD. Many school assignments require sustained attention and focus, which can lead to a feeling of overwhelm.

It is critical to understand that students with ADHD process information differently. For example, they may need extra time or more hands-on activities to understand the material taught in class fully.

These strategies might include breaking down large assignments into smaller segments. It is also a good idea for parents and teachers to create a designated study space with minimal distractions at home and school. 

3. Sensory issues or environmental factors

A child with ADHD may be sensitive to light, sound, or touch. This factor can become a major hindrance for the child to concentrate on their tasks. They may become distracted by noise or struggle to focus in a noisy environment – whether in the classroom or at home. 

So it is necessary to make arrangements in the environment. For example, bright light will not be ideal for an ADHD child. It is good to reconsider fluorescent bulbs or harsh natural light due to sensory sensitivity. 

Similarly, a visually overwhelming or cluttered environment can cause distress for children with ADHD. 

4. Executive function deficits and time management difficulties

Children diagnosed with ADHD often face challenges related to executive function deficits. These mental processes include planning, organizing, initiating, and maintaining consistency to achieve objectives.  

 Overall, it leads to time management issues. A child with ADHD may struggle to estimate the completion time of a task. In addition, they may also need help sorting tasks according to their priorities. 

Conclusion: Why Does an ADHD Child Refuse to Do Homework?

Consequently, children with ADHD may experience frustration, anxiety, and lower academic performance. They might refuse to do homework due to a couple of challenges. These may look different for every child, and the severity may also vary. A few examples are trouble concentrating, lack of drive, and executive functioning issues.


Every child with ADHD is different. So parents and teachers need to identify the underlying causes. While some signs are apparent, it’s best to seek the help of a mental health professional and educationist. They can help by using multiple approaches to help ADHD children overcome homework difficulties and achieve their maximum potential.


Wondering why does an ADHD child refuse to do homework? Get helpful advice from experts on how to support your child and create a productive homework routine!

Need help with ADHD? Chat with Themba Tutors today.
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Meet Craig Selinger, the passionate owner behind Themba Tutors, a renowned practice specializing in executive function coaching and tutoring. Together with his team of multidisciplinary professionals, they bring their extensive knowledge to numerous locations: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as offering remote services. As a licensed speech-language pathologist in the state of NY, executive functioning coach, and educational specialist with an impressive track record spanning over two decades, Craig has professionally assisted thousands of families. Craig's proficiency encompasses a wide spectrum of areas, including language-related learning challenges such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. He is also well-versed in executive functioning, ADHD/ADD, and various learning disabilities. What truly distinguishes Craig and his team is their unwavering commitment to delivering comprehensive support. By actively collaborating with the most esteemed professionals within the NYC metropolitan region – from neuropsychologists to mental health therapists and allied health experts – they create a network of expertise.
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