I always caution parents and educators that we must be vigilant that we are not punishing a child or student for ADHD symptoms. Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness are symptoms, not behaviors, although they can frequently be translated that way by adults working with an ADHD child.
I frequently relate this to how we would treat a diabetic child. We would never ask a diabetic child to manage their blood sugar levels simply by focusing on it or even on their own. We treat and accommodate by providing the right diet, and in cases where it needed, medication. It is the same for the ADHD child. We cannot ask an ADHD child to control their symptoms any more than we can with a child with a different health issue. In this case, the “diet” is the accommodations we put in place to help an ADHD child, and if warranted, medication to help them out as well.
Certainly, all children are capable of willful misbehavior, which is why it is important to give ADHD kids a chance to back up and do-over if something impulsive has occurred without shaming. It is the shaming, and the constant being in trouble, that decreases their self-esteem and increases their willful behaviors. If an ADHD child feels that an adult does not like them, they will retaliate.
Behavior charts fail for these children, especially ones with a take-away component. Again, if an ADHD child is symptomatic (say inattentive) and doesn’t complete their work, or does something impulsive, they lose checks or points, or don’t earn them. Again, behavior charts are punishment for symptoms. As Ross Greene says in the Explosive Child, “children do well if they can.”