Pupils with ADHD – Look beyond the labels

Difficult. Challenging. Disruptive. When I trained as a primary school teacher 15 years ago, these were just some of the words used to describe children with ADHD. Victoria Williamson, special needs trained primary school teacher and author writes in Teachwire.

There were others, whispered by harassed-looking teachers in the staffroom or concerned parents at the school gates, but none of them seemed to be positive.

When I got my first ‘real’ class to teach, and saw that some of the children came with the dreaded ‘ADHD’ label attached, it was no wonder that I approached the new term with butterflies the size of dragons in my stomach.

Saleem wasn’t ‘disruptive’. His fidgeting and muttering during quiet work time was his way of trying to stay focused on the task, but his habit of constantly getting out of his seat and wandering round the class in search of a chat, a sharpener to borrow or a new pencil case to explore often drove the other children to distraction.

His restless energy was forgiven when it came to PE lessons though, when classmates who’d been complaining about him only minutes before now demanded to have him in their team, knowing his fast legs and endless reserves of energy would carry them to victory regardless of the game being played.

Read more and find out how you and your class can ensure an ADHD label doesn’t have to be a negative one Pupils with ADHD – Look beyond the labels  Also read what teachers need to know about ADHD by Dr Mark Kennedy. 

More SEN training required for trainee teachers and experienced staff? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin


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  1. Anonymous

    Teachers obsessed with special needs children are in the wrong job. Go and be a social worker, a nurse, run a charity or maybe even become a parent.

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