Saturday, June 9, 2012

Waldorf and ADHD

Three years after our family left the Waldorf school our daughter was diagnosed
with ADHD. This may explain the severity of some of her problems. The condition
makes her highly sensitive and this probably made her a magnet for bullying. It
also meant she had difficulty with concentrating and sitting still during

However, it doesn't change her story. She may have been more vulnerable to
bullying than the average child, but the school made no attempt to resolve this,
in fact on one occasion a teacher told me that 'She asked for it.' She may have
been difficult in class, but was her teacher's response, to make her stand in
the corner for rest of the lesson, an appropriate one? The school also refused
to allow her psychiatrist to observe her in class which may have helped to get
her diagnosed. The school's opinion was always that Joanna's behaviour was
because she was emotionally disturbed because of problems in her home life.

I am now very worried that some Waldorf schools, are saying that Steiner
education is especially good for ADHD children. While I agree that the
structured day of the Kindergarten did suit Joanna well, once in Class 1 the
Steiner system, in retrospect, was most unsuitable. The 2 hour main lesson must
have seemed like torture to her.

Most importantly, my daughter was asked to leave because of her behaviour. Some
of it may well have been due to her ADHD and a lot to the reaction of the other
pupils to her ADHD and the fact that the teacher could not cope with her. I am
amazed that, in spite of this, Waldorf schools, including the one our family
attended, are claiming to be especially suited to ADHD children. At least one
other ADHD child was asked to leave this school. It seems they are not good at
coping with this special need. I would have hoped that at least they had learned
this, but it seems that is not the case.

ADHD children are particularly bad at coping with rejection. Schools should
never go out of their way to attract them unless they are as sure as they can be
of their commitment to the child and of their ability to meet their needs. The
Waldorf school Joanna attended was totally unable to meet her needs. She went on
to an ordinary village primary where they did cope. Even though she was still
undiagnosed they helped her immensely and never felt the need to blame us or to
call her emotionally disturbed.


  1. Waldorf schools do not go out of their way to attract parents who's children spend a great deal of time watching TV and playing video games/computer tablets. While ADHD is a real condition, we never really talk much about how a child arrives at ADHD or what may be amplifying symptoms we call ADHD. Maybe you are hearing the advice and believing that it is criticism. Maybe you really are causing the "ADHD" but you don't realize it?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. ^This is as closed minded as it gets folks. Whoever wrote this and if you do teach at a Waldorf School, I feel that this answer is exactly the mentality of the people she experienced at her Waldorf school.

      "Maybe you are causing the ADHD?" Wow. I do not know one parent on Earth that would work hard and use their hard earned money to give their child the best education out there (what they felt was Waldorf education at the time), that would be causing ADHD.

      Do you realized how shitty of a human being you sound to put the blame on the parent. Would you say the same of a child with autism, down syndrome, or another disability?

      The original commenter said NOTHING about her child being involved with media, video games, etc. Who is a TEACHER to make psychological diagnoses. There are no psychologist or psychiatrists acting like they are trained Waldorf educators.

      So Waldorf teachers should stop acting like they are trained in the matters of human behavior and diagnoses, don't you think?

      Do you think independently or only as a pod?

    3. This is probably the first time i am commenting on a public forum but the comment here is so appalling. Blaming the parent for causing ADHD? I am a physician and used to think of ADHD and mild autism as made us diagnoses. But that was until my son got the autism diagnosis. He is doing very good with therapies but I am sure as he grows up, he is going to get ADHD diagnosis. And there is nothing we could or could not have done. These kids are just wired differently. By the way, we don't have a TV at home and our kids rarely get to watch anything on computer.

  2. Waldorf schools are well suited for ADHD students so as long as the parents are committed to supporting Waldorf principles in the home as well. It's very common for parents to literally undo what Waldorf schools do for children once they come home from school.

    1. I'm tired of the Waldorf bashing by parents who are not participating in the method. Waldorf is very much dependent on parents participating in the practice.

    2. If Waldorf was honest about what they do and why, they wouldn't attract parents who don't want Waldorf. Instead of screening parents, Waldorf takes ANY family. They want to indoctrinate the children - for as long as they can. Parents be damned.

  3. It is quite closed minded for you all to assume that the children have been influenced by media or that the parents are to blame.I agree many Waldorf Schools have a hard time handling ADHD children but so do many other traditional schools too. If you all are teachers I suggest you study Anthroposophy a bit more closely. There are so many factors including Karma of the child.
    The very reason i send my son 8 yrs to a GOOD Waldorf school who truly understands the mission and spiritual evolution of each human individual!! Steiner's Mission was to help every man even Prison inmates thru prison outreach.


You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.