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When Discipline Muzzles Learning: Tales of Harsh Punishment at School

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Students with ADHD become easily distracted, tune out lessons, and daydream. The disorder brings disorganization and forgetfulness — failing to complete and turn in assignments, losing school supplies, and keeping messy backpacks.

Kids with ADHD may be restless, fidgeting and struggling to stay seated, and impulsive — talking excessively, interrupting, making careless errors, and disrupting the class.These ADHD disruptions, daydreams, and delays are largely beyond students’ control, but too often, they incur punishment from weary teachers rather than positive behavioral interventions.

ADDitude asked more than 200 caregivers if their children received harsh or over-the-top punishment at school for their behavior, and the answer was overwhelmingly “yes.” Here are some of their stories.“We had to move our son from the school where we both, as parents, teach! The head teacher used the words ‘liar,’ ‘difficult,’ ‘defiant,’ and ‘sticks out like a sore thumb’ to describe his ADHD behaviors, such as not responding straight away to instructions or continuing to hyperfocus when an activity had ended.

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