When kids read or watch a TV show or movie, they are looking for stories that in some way reflect or validate their own experience. That’s why it is so important to provide students with media that reflect the real-world diversity found in the classroom.
We have compiled a list of characters with ADHD diagnoses (or who probably should have a diagnosis). Some of these characters are more appropriate for adults (you may regret showing your kids The Hangover), but there are options for just about any age!
We’d like to say that this is THE comprehensive list of characters with ADHD, but we are really only scratching the surface. By sharing a book, show, or movie where a main character has ADHD, you are showing your students that not only is having ADHD perfectly normal, but oftentimes the traits of ADHD can come in handy as the characters navigate the challenges they face.
Characters with an official ADHD diagnosis
- Barney from How I Met Your Mother
- Tracy from 30 Rock
- Stiles from Teen Wolf
- Jesus from The Fosters
- Phil from Modern Family
- Spinner from Degrassi: The Next Generation
- Bart Simpson from The Simpsons
- Carol Solomon from In a World …
- Niki from Sister
- Julie Powell from Julie & Julia
- Arbor from The Selfish Giant
- Juno MacGuff from Juno
- Steve from Mommy
- Alan from The Hangover
- Bean from To Stand in the Light by Kayla Bashe
- Aisha from Worm
- Gingerbread in Life Is Funny by E. R. Frank
- Most of the halfbloods in the Percy Jackson series
- Tyler from Playing Tyler by T. L. Costa
- Jessie from Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue
- There are a lot of children’s books (picture books and chapter books) with ADHD main characters, so I’m just putting a link to a list here and another list here.
Characters that have many ADHD traits but no diagnosis (perhaps because the term ADHD did not exist)
- Emma Woodhouse from Emma by Jane Austen
- Helen Burns from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
- Tom Sawyer
- Fidgety Philip
- Anne Shirley
- Maria from The Sound of Music
- Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind (in the film, at least)
- King Henry VIII in Shakespeare’s play
So, what do you think? Did we miss any of your favorites?
- Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager