ADHD Myths & Facts

21 Ignorant Comments About ADHD (and the Facts to Refute Them)

ADHD is not willful disobedience. It is not caused by too much sugar or too much Minecraft. And spanking is not a cure. Here, our readers share the 21 most ignorant comments about ADHD, and the facts they use to refute them.

A graphic depiction of paying attention to myths instead of adhd facts that should be more widely known.
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The Worst ADHD Comments

When it comes to ADHD, myths and misinformation abound, but ADHD facts are often ignored. Our readers shared some of the thoughtless, foot-in-mouth comments they've heard from strangers, teachers, doctors, and family members about ADHD. Brace yourself for the onslaught of insensitivity.

A child with ADHD cries over hurtful comments from a parent or a friend.
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Just a Tantrum

"My mom stayed with my family for a few days. Every time my son flipped out, she would say: 'Well that just seems like a temper tantrum to me.' I may have agreed with her if these meltdowns didn't happen every day!"

Woman with guilt thinks about how others think her ADHD is a character flaw.
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A Character Flaw

"Growing up, my parents had me believe that it was a defect in my character, and not inattention, that kept me from developing good study skills. It took recognizing ADHD in my own children before I could begin to let go of the guilt!"

Boy making a funny face at school gets scolded for bad behavior.
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"When my son was in 4th grade, his teacher became fed up with what she described as his 'bad behavior and disrespect for the rules.' She went on to say that we were a 'family of troublemakers.' Shouldn't a teacher know better?"

Girl with ADHD on a tire swing is called just a little hyper.
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"'Oh, she’s just a little hyper.' Well, that’s an understatement."

Boys arm wrestling. Some say ADHD behavior is bad parenting.
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Parenting 101

"Before my oldest was diagnosed with ADHD, a pediatrician actually suggested that I take parenting classes. It took moving to a different state and switching to a new pediatrician before my son was properly diagnosed with ADHD."

Pharmacist tells parent they'd save a lot of money if they spank their child instead of treat ADHD with medication.
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The Best Medicine

"I went to pick up my son's ADHD medication one day at the pharmacy and the pharmacist said, 'You know you would save a lot of money if you just spanked him instead.' I was shocked!"

Boy plays soccer to tire him out to fix ADHD.
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Sporting Solution

"Someone once told me that signing my son up for a sport would solve his behavior problems. 'He just needs to be tired out,' she said."

Mom with ADHD being scolded by her mother
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Judgmental Parents

"'I'd never let my kid do that.' I’m assuming your kid doesn't have ADHD."

ADHD Boy covers his face because he is ashamed
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Rein Him In

"'What is going on with that child?! Why can't the parents just rein him in?' If only it were that simple."

Girl makes a funny face as people talk about how she'll outgrow ADHD.
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Test of Time

"'She will outgrow it.' Ever heard of adult attention deficit disorder? Sigh."

Boy hiding under a book — he's not socially maladjusted, he has ADHD and he's bored.
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Socially Maladjusted

"I was dubbed 'socially maladjusted' by my kindergarten teacher, but in truth, I was just bored because I wasn't learning anything new."

Bored students aren't lazy and unmotivated. They have ADHD.
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"Growing up I was called 'lazy and unmotivated' and was told that I just needed to apply myself."

A child reaches for a bottle of pills, despite being shamed for taking ADHD medication.
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Drug Shame

"Then there are those who say 'Oh my goodness, you give her those drugs? Aren't you afraid of what they're doing to her?' Umm… no. I'm more afraid of what my daughter will do if she’s not on her medication!"

Students are writing, doing work because of the accommodations some think are an unfair advantage.
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Unfair Advantage

"'504 Plans and IEPs give ADHD kids an unfair advantage.' Oh right, because having ADHD is such a walk in the park."

A man is stressed about ignorant ADHD comments that he just needs to apply himself.
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Apply Yourself

"'You’re not living up to your full potential. If only you would apply yourself ...' We've all heard this one."

Girl paints to use her strengths. ADHD doesn't make someone stupid, just different.
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Learning Struggles

"I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in kindergarten. My first grade teacher said 'Well, she is just stupid and can't learn.' Today I hold four bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree and I plan on getting a Ph.D. — guess I proved her wrong!"

A child who is twice-exceptional writing out E=MC2 on a blackboard in pink chalk
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"'Smart people don't have disabilities and people with disabilities aren't smart.' This is obviously untrue. Ever heard of Einstein? Yep, he had ADHD."

A man is smiling, but jokes about having an ADHD kind of day aren't funny.
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ADHD Kind of Day

"It’s a pet peeve of mine when a person without ADHD jokes around by saying 'I am so ADHD today' whenever they get distracted. It is this type of joke that makes people dismiss ADHD as a serious disorder."

Parents fight over daughter in a broken home, but that's not a reason for ADHD symptoms.
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Broken Home

"I was once told that I behaved the way I did because I was a product of a 'broken home.'"

Mom lectures kids, claiming they're irresponsible, when ADHD is actually to blame.
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What's In a Name?

"'Irresponsible' is a word I constantly heard growing up. I felt like it was my middle name."

Too much TV does not cause ADHD.
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TV Overload

"I had a psychology professor tell me that ADHD was caused by bad parenting and too much TV! I was seeing red for days! Breaks my heart to think someone would actually say that."

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