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How Much Do Teachers Know About ADHD?

One of the places ADHD symptoms can first become apparent is in the classroom. That means teachers, for better or worse, are often on the front lines of spotting ADHD.

TeachingBut how much do teachers know about ADHD? Clearly, teachers aren’t trained as mental health professionals.

A recent study by researchers in Spain asked that question, and the results don’t exactly inspire confidence.

In the study, teachers were asked a series of questions about the basics of ADHD, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. On average, the teachers were able to answer less than half the questions correctly. So, yes, that would be a failing grade.

On top of that, a third of the teachers said that they simply felt either “somewhat” or “totally” incapable of teaching children with ADHD. Considering that these teachers like are going to have students with ADHD, that’s bad news for the teachers and bad news for the students.

Fortunately, this is a problem with a clear solution. In the study, teachers who had received training in ADHD were able to answer more questions correctly. This suggests that simply giving teachers some fundamental training in what ADHD is and how students with the condition learn could make life better for everyone involved.

Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect that teachers will become experts on the many different mental health conditions that their students might have. When it comes to ADHD, though, we’re talking about a fairly common condition that’s closely intertwined with how people learn and how they approach school. In the case of ADHD and other conditions that impact learning in particular (like dyslexia, for example), it seems that teachers should have some training in the basics of recognizing and managing the symptoms.

This study suggests that when it comes to ADHD awareness among education professionals, there’s certainly something to be desired. But the good news is that training teachers to understand students with ADHD better does seem to make a difference, meaning there is a clear opportunity here to improve how efficiently our education system serves students with ADHD.

Image: Flickr/Matthew

How Much Do Teachers Know About ADHD?

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on psychology, ADHD and education. In addition to ADHD Millennial, he writes about psychology at Psych Central's AllPsych blog and about ADHD at He can be found on Twitter at @ADaptHD_blog

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2018). How Much Do Teachers Know About ADHD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Mar 2018
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