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'Including Pupils with ADHD' a new booklet from DCU and HADD-ADHD Ireland

To download the booklet please click here:

Rationale for the handbook

As part of one of their final year modules on the BEd programme in DCU, students were given a range of choices for one of the assessments. Five students chose to produce a handbook for student teachers on school placement and to focus on considerations for inclusion of pupils with ADHD because they all had experience of working with these pupils on at least one of their placements over the four years of the course. They thought that a practical guide to supporting a child with ADHD in a classroom would be of value to any student teacher going out on school placement for two reasons.

The students believed the handbook would support student teachers to consider their planning and therefore, their teaching, to effectively include a pupil with ADHD in all lessons. Secondly, they believed that much of the advice provided regarding considerations for pupils with ADHD would actually be applicable in any primary classroom and therefore, the handbook could potentially support the work of all student teachers on placement.

As student teachers, when compiling this handbook we continuously reminded ourselves that our own beliefs, attitudes and emotions impact how we respond to situations that may arise within the classroom. Florian & Spratt (2013) recognise that teachers should be encouraged to view difficulties in learning as dilemmas for themselves as opposed to deficits in children. We kept this thought in our heads for the duration of this project.

We endeavoured to create easy-to-follow guidelines which would enable student teachers to act on this view. Teachers need to believe in themselves and their capacity to support all children in their class including students with additional needs (Rouse, 2009), because if we do not believe in ourselves how can we expect pupils to trust in us and follow our guidance?

The elements we chose to include in the booklet are (a) an introduction to ADHD, (b) teachers’ attitudes and responses to behaviour, (c) creating a suitable social and learning environment,(d) classroom organisation, (e) useful resources.

The poem in the booklet entitled The Child, is based on various readings which highlighted what it is like to be a child with ADHD. The idea that it feels like “having a thousand TVs blaring” was one that really struck us, making us consider how difficult it can be for a child with ADHD to focus in the busy environment of a classroom. Consequently, this image became the inspiration for the cover. The poem entitled The Teacher is written by us as a summary of the main principles of the handbook, and how a teacher should both think and act in relation to children that have ADHD. We feel that this poem really demonstrates our learning as a result of this project.

Eleanor Bolger, Tara Butler, Catherine Mary Byrne, Alice Kelly & Johanna Wickham


As a group, we thoroughly enjoyed this practical assignment and feel we have created

something that is very useful and practical and, indeed, something of which we are very

proud. Undoubtedly, this work will inform our future teaching by making us much more

aware and understanding in relation to ADHD and we hope that it will support the student

teachers following behind us on the BEd programme when they are on school placement.