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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.

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

  1. Yikes I’m about to go to a parent teacher conference and was so excited to have this resource until I started reading it. This feels like a very negative and archaic way of looking at ADHD and no way would I share it with anyone working with my daughter. Some of this is okay but other parts are highly reductive and just make people with ADHD sound like hopeless problems. I really hope this is taken down or redone. I guess this is the problem with trying to reduce ADHD to a bullet point graphic. I have ADHD myself and this felt awful to read.

  2. horseloverforlife7, I’m 38-years-old. I was diagnosed at 14, and I have been on medication ever since. My meds have, of course, been changed often as my body has gotten used to them, and they have stopped working. However, something that my original doctor told my mom and I when I was first diagnosed has always stuck with me: medication can only do so much. The person has to want it to work. I don’t like the way that my head/brain feels without my meds. I usually describe it as feeling like one of those ugly sweaters that looks like an yarn machine threw up on it. I HATE that feeling. I desperately want that yarn to be straightened out and organized into semi-focused thoughts. I am now a teacher, I teach 2nd-8th grade Art. I have learned to embrace the good aspects of my ADHD, but I still WANT it to work.

  3. 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. Make an appointment to talk to the teacher about your child. Go alone first and then have your daughter meet with the teacher and let her explain what she feels about school and see if they can brainstorm some strategies to help her get the year started (continued) in a positive way. So often these children have good ideas about what will help. Our daughter tried the meds (her choice- not ours or the doctor) and they were not a good fit. The teachers agreed that she could have seating where she could stand or move if needed and could take a walk to the restroom or deliver an office message (it was a small school) to get out some energy. She also got an ok to “re-take” a test orally if she did poorly on a written test. She spoke better than she wrote, so it was an option. We also got essay questions for the test in advance (the whole class did) so she could prep for them and even turn them in early.

    2. 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.

  4. 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.


    1. I agree with Rachel. Can the article/chart be updated with more inclusive/positive language about these kids in school. Usually they are some of the brightest kids I have.

    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.

    3. 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.

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