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The Misinterpretation of ADHD: Being “Rude”

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Hyperactivity, forgetfulness, distraction, abrupt or excessively frequent input into conversations, irritability, and difficulty waiting have been colloquially identified as rude behaviors in many settings. Although these behaviors indeed appear rude, ADHD affects executive function skills, self-stimulating behaviors and self-control, which occasionally manifest in similar behavioral patterns. It’s important to acknowledge that the portrayal of these behaviors is not an intentional choice, but rather a product of the challenges associated with ADHD. Professionals suggest that a vast majority of people with ADHD struggle with executive function, though the skills can be taught and learned if addressed appropriately. Below are some important points of advice for parents or authority figures when considering this behavior from their student:

Above all else, it’s important to ensure that the student feels their behavioral tendencies (including the ones that can be perceived as rude in certain contexts) are appreciated and understood. When feeling understood, it’s easier to use and reflect upon the advice one is given to create a change. This also builds rapport between the authority figure and student that allows them to collaboratively find solutions to the problematic behavior without discouragement.


  1. My Child Is Rude
  2. What Adults Who Don’t Have ADHD Should Know About Adults Who Do
  3. ADHD and Disrespectful Behavior