Best Practice

What not to say to an ADHD pupil

Every teacher will have students with ADHD in their classrooms at some point. ADHD counsellor and author Sarah Templeton discusses seven things we should never say to these young people...


It is estimated that 5% of children and young people – around 700,000 – are living with ADHD (Sayal et al, 2018).

This means that the vast majority of teachers can expect to have ADHD children in their classrooms.

In my experience, ADHD children are often on the receiving end of a number of common phrases or admonishments that, however well intentioned, simply will not help them to achieve in their education. Here are seven phrases to avoid (and why).


‘Can’t you just sit still?’

It won’t be a surprise to you to know that the H in ADHD stands for hyperactivity. What might be a surprise to you is just how serious a problem this is for ADHD children – and even adults.

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