ADHD Boarding Schools

In the 21st century, the range of boarding schools that are prepared to accept a student with ADHD is very broad. This article explores types of boarding schools that are prepared to assist a student with and how to find them. 

Boarding School Programs for Students with ADHD

There are certain boarding schools that aim to address ADHD and other issues that may require intervention and treatment, and other boarding schools that have other missions and goals, but are equipped to help students who happen to have ADHD meet fulfill those missions and meet those goals. While the first group might address ADHD in the context of poor school performance or other issues, the second handles it only as it affects a student’s ability to prepare for college, function in a military-type atmosphere, excel at a particular sport, explore his or her gifts in the arts, provide leadership or community service, etc. That is, they are prepared to assist students with ADHD (and other disabilities) meet their goals, but the goals are not ADHD-specific.

How to Search for ADHD Boarding Schools

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not a type of boarding school. Rather, it is a disability that some boarding schools are prepared to treat, while others may not have staff with the training to assist such students. Since a student with ADHD is unlikely to function well in an environment that does not include staff who are knowledgeable and trained in working with the disorder, finding a boarding school that will work requires addressing the issue specifically.

For therapeutic boarding schools—those that have a specific aim of treating and counseling students with learning or other issues—their commitment to students facing ADHD will be much more obvious. Besides being clearly referenced in their mission statements, you can easily find such schools by using the keyword search on the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) here: Searching on “ADHD” will provide you with a list that includes wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, transitional independent living facilities, outdoor therapeutic programs, and more.

For programs that are not focused on therapeutic issues—for example, college preparatory boarding schools, military academies, arts academies, and sports academies—a good source is the search here:

In the sixth section down from the top called “Must offer these programs,” check the ‘ADD/ADHD’ checkbox. Then review the other choices to add or change any other criteria you would like to filter by, and click the ‘List My Schools Below’ button.

From the point of finding schools, your questions will likely be similar to those you would ask in a public school. It’s important to know if all faculty and staff are familiar with ADHD, or if a deep understanding is limited to one (or a few). Are there current students with this disorder whose experience has been good? What kind o success do students with ADHD at this boarding school have in terms of grades, social life, graduation, and acceptance at a college of their choice?