• Elizabeth Ross

Where Are All the Characters with ADHD? Here!

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 ShirleyMaria 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







We are grateful for the support of community-minded foundations and corporations that help us bring the power of SMARTS to students everywhere.

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