It is likely that all teachers and all tutors will work with ADHD pupils. There are many myths and misunderstandings about working with ADHD learners that can be quite damaging that are worth challenging and dispelling.
Some people feel that ADHD does not actually exist. Research shows this belief to be untrue, the condition certainly does exist and it is a spectrum neurodevelopmental conditions-usually lifelong. No-one knows its cause, but interestingly, it seems to run in families and is closely linked to other conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism or ODD. Reasonable adjustments need to be made by those teaching students with ADHD.
Some feel that ADHD is a mental health issue- it is not, however having ADHD can mean one is much more likelier to develop mental health issues at some point in their lives. The ADHD foundation found that over 40% of those with ADHD reported experiencing anxiety and depression. Some of these feelings will be because they have been overly criticised and overly controlled. ADHD students need to feel good about themselves too and to have the opportunity to exercise meaningful choices.
Some feel that’s those with ADHD are more aggressive. People with ADHD experience a level of developmental delay within the frontal cortex of their brain-which in turn means their emotional responses to difficulties may be less mature than their peers. They can experience difficulties in relating cause and effect. They can also struggle with sleep. Learners with ADHD need understanding and personalised support.
Some people would say that those with ADHD are selective about when to focus or behave. One of the biggest barriers that people with ADHD have to overcome is inattention. However this does not mean they can never pay attention- in fact they can experience and give ‘hyper-focus’ in areas of interest. This could explain why there are many successful people with a diagnosis of ADHD as they can be extra focused and dedicated to their areas of interest. It is the educators’ role to find those areas of interest, build on strengths within a supportive relationship to help them broaden their ability to focus and concentrate. Here, exercise and movement can be very important and every session should incorporate elements of movement
Some feel that too much sugar causes ADHD. Despite the need for us all to limit and watch our sugar intake, it is not the case that too much sugar gives rise to ADHD. ADHD is a neurological and developmental condition. Too much sugar won’t help, but it is not the cause of ADHD.
It is important that we do find constructive ways to supportive students with ADHD that we work with.
Here are some top tips from Tutor Doctor.