Original Research

Teachers’ experiences of supporting learners with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Lessons for professional development of teachers

Veronica Dwarika, Simone Braude
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a843 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.843 | © 2020 Veronica Dwarika, Simone Braude | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2020 | Published: 09 December 2020

About the author(s)

Veronica Dwarika, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Simone Braude, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Inclusion policies require that learners with ADHD be taught in mainstream schools. For inclusion to be effective, the school personnel who are most responsible for its success must be responsive to the demands of educating learners by practicing values, beliefs, pedagogical applications, as well as assessment practices that support the needs of diverse learners within their classrooms. Such support necessitates a look at how teachers view learners with ADHD and how such views articulate into practices of support.

Aim: The study aimed to provide a description of teachers understanding of ADHD, and their experiences of supporting learners with ADHD to provide a lens for lessons that can be drawn for teacher professional development.

Setting: The study is set within an interpretivist paradigm and utilises a generic qualitative research design.

Methods: Qualitative data were collected through individual interviews with seven teachers each representing a grade from 1-7.

Results: Teachers’ understanding of ADHD appeared to be limited. The stigma of ADHD creates a reluctance from caregivers towards pharmacological treatment. Professional development in strategies to support learners with ADHD, are deemed useful if, they are relevant and appropriate within the systemic context of their mainstream classrooms.

Conclusion: The professional development of teachers with the understanding, skills and knowledge to support learners with ADHD is advocated for. A collaborative consultation model for the growth of evidence-based school interventions for learners with ADHD is supported.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), inclusion professional development


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