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What Every Teacher Should Know About ADHD: A Poster for School

Download this resource and share it with your child’s teacher, so that she or he is prepared to handle both common (and not-so-obvious) ADHD behaviors inside and outside the classroom.

ADHD is more complex and nuanced than most people realize. Its symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe. More often than not, it coexists with other conditions, including learning disabilities. And many of its challenges are “invisible” or easily blamed on laziness.

Though teachers may recognize that students with ADHD forget to write down assignments, lose completed homework, and need fidgets to improve focus, many educators are frustrated and confounded by not-so-obvious ADHD behaviors when they inevitably pop up. And that is where this handout comes in.

Thanks to renowned ADHD experts Chris Zeigler Dendy, author of Teenagers with ADD & ADHD: A Guide for Parents and Teaching Teens with ADD, ADHD, & Executive Function Deficits, and her son Alex, this download is available as a tremendous resource for parents and educators alike. The ADDitude team enjoys a close relationship with the Dendys and recommends this resource as a valuable investment.

Download this resource and share it with your child’s teacher to promote a better understanding of the ADHD brain — and how symptoms impact executive functions and emotions. The first step toward greater learning is greater understanding.



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  1. This chart needs to be updated with positive language or it will do more harm than good. I read a few of these and immediately felt horrible and had to stop reading. I’m terrified for any child who has a teacher that believes this is all there is to know about their ADHD student.

    Each of the negative descriptions here could be transformed into a clear statement about what that child needs. The positive psychology movement now knows that people are 30% more effective at “positive” than they are at “negative, neutral, or stressed.” And if you listen to your own experts podcast (#204), you know how essential it is for children to have people in their corner who support them.

    For example, “serious learning problems” can be “radically different learning requirements.” Or “can’t memorize easily” can become “needs images to memorize.” This chart gives the teachers no ideas, no indication about who they have in their classroom, only what that person lacks. Did a specialist really create this?

    This isn’t educating teachers, it’s poisoning them. Any teacher seeing this would immediately label that child as slow, stunted, maybe even stupid, but at the very least a problem. Every single point on this chart is a negative.

    Imagine you’re throwing a dinner party and someone gives you a list of foods they can’t eat. I’m sure you’d feel annoyed and put out by their being so particular and special. Now imagine they give you a list entitled “I love to eat! Here’s a small sample of my favorite foods, at the bottom you’ll find things I have trouble with.” At least then you’d have some idea where to go or what to make, and you’d see that there was an abundance of fun to be had.

    Additude has helped me so much in the past, I just don’t understand how something like this disturbing and dangerous chart could be a “free gift” on your site.

    Rachel

    1. As an adult with ADHD and a former teacher, I totally agree with Rachel. I could say a lot about it, but Rachel says it so well that I’ll leave it there.

      It would certainly be helpful to teachers not familiar with the depths of ADHD behavior to have information to help them work better with these children. I’d love to see this chart rewritten using the above guidelines.

    2. I completely disagree – This chart was so helpful for me to recognize these characteristics in myself and my daughter! This helps to explain characteristics in my daughter that have been so hard to define! I teach in an elementary school and I know I am capable of looking at this list and SEEING the positive in my child and my students. It seems that you cannot see the forest for the trees and you are fixated on the language (which in my opinion there is nothing wrong with). You want to convolute the language with descriptions that will muddy the point. I’m pretty confident that compassionate educators can figure it out and do not need politically correct language in order to do so.

  2. My daughter is 9 and going into 3rd grade. I have been homeschooling her for the last 2 years. It has been a nightmare. She hates school. Everything I’ve tried doesn’t help. We have tried medication, but I can’t seem to find one that really works well. I am dreading this school year. I feel hopeless. I feel like she is getting behinde in Math. Can some please tell me what I can do to stop the shinning and melt downs. I am at my witts end.

    1. You you seem very desperate. It is understandable. But you need to get a hold of yourself first in order to help your daughter, or else you will only be Giving her a bad time. Put your oxygen mask first and then you can see/think clearly what is your next step. Just your next step.

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