Teacher-Student Relationships: A Key for Teens and Young Adults with ADHD

ADHD is characterized by inappropriate levels of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Add challenges like self-regulation and behavior, and they present a major challenge in the classroom. Teachers can provide solutions. The first step is to identify specific characteristics.


  • Struggling in relationships
  • Less engaged
  • Avoidance of working (alone, in groups)
  • Battles with authority
  • Intrinsic motivation

Research reports that students with ADHD are significantly more difficult to teach than their peers. As a result, teachers have relatively negative feelings from the start.


Teachers are responsible for the way that students perform. When problems occur, they can become concerned with ruining their reputation. It impacts management of their workflow. Performance of their class as a whole suffers.

Teacher Training

Colleges and universities provide less-than-adequate training on the specifics of ADHD. Professionals suggest book knowledge, peer training, and mentoring. Finding and sharing best possible solution are another tactic that improves relationships.

  • Avoid yes/no questions. Encourages student shut-down.
  • Watch your thoughts. Labeling causes more challenges.Work together. Form a team determined to be successful.
  • Choose battles wisely. Not everything is a crisis.
  • Avoid sarchasm. Words can be a weapon.

High school teachers and professors of older students with ADHD are often driven by emotions. Think the best by assuming that they’re paying attention. Repeat the positives by saying, “I believe in you.” Most important strategies incorporate autonomy (self-help). Lesson plans can smooth out the process.

  • Repeat. Choose similar words with similar meanings.
  • Say “we” instead of “you.” Form an alliance.
  • Diffuse situations quickly. Encourage change by non-aggressive ways.
  • Focus on the positives. Highlight even small successes.
  • Take a different scenery. Allow them to work outside the classroom.

Teacher-student relations run on a 2-way street. Older students with ADHD should be coached on how to approach authority figures. Language is critical.

  • Speak with emotions beyond anger.
  • Be honest about difficulties.
  • Explain using non-explosive words (hate, boring, stupid/dumb).
  • Express personal needs.
  • Frame new strategies based on likes and dislikes.

Teens and young adults with ADHD struggle with low self-understanding. They can feel defeated before they begin. It is important that they improve positive self-esteem. Having support from teachers can help.


What characteristics of your favorite teacher?





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