Tuesday, 15 May 2018

ADHD and the School System

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are a challenge to "manage" at school. In general, there is a lack of formal education and support to help and prepare teachers (e.g. Perold et al., 2010). Hence, teachers can feel stress and see it as an educational problem (via). The classroom, in fact, can be "one of the most difficult places for children with (...) ADHD" (Kos et al., 2006). Among some teachers, there is the tendency to get rid of these children by diagnosing special needs and sending them to special schools (via).

Educational reformer Friedrich Gedike (1754-1803) pointed out that school records were not primarily about academic performance but about behaviour, discipline, obedience, and attention. The characteristics of this school system (that do have survived) create an environment in which children with ADHD are perceived as particularly challenging. Outside school, their behaviour is not labelled as a problem - or at least not to such an extent (von Stechow, 2015). Psychosocial interventions can improve school performance (Tresco et al., 2010).

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- Kos, J.M., Richdale, A. L., & Hay, D. A. (2006). Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and their Teachers: A review of the literature. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 53(2), 147-160.
- Perold, M., Louw, C., & Kleynhans, S. (2010). Primary school teachers' knowledge and misperceptions of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). South African Journal of Education, 30, 457-473.
- von Stechow, E. (2015). Von Störern, Zerstreuten und ADHS-Kindern: Eine Analyse historischer Sichtweisen und Diskurse auf die Bedeutung von Ruhe und Aufmerksamkeit bis zum 21. Jahrhundert. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Kinkhardt.
- photograph via


  1. We are currently working on a diversity handbook for teachers. This is such an interesting field and so much is known (so little is implemented). I do hope that there will be more transfer from academia to practitioners in future. Many thanks for thanking :-) Kenneth and Tim!