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An aspect of the Center for Children and Families

Topic: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Researched and written byKristen Stromko
                                                I attest that the following report is a product of my own original work.

Summary
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References
 


Summary
 

This paper discusses the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Individuals with ADHD may have trouble with motor restlessness, maintaining focus, avoiding distractions and controlling impulses (Levine, 2003). Throughout the paper there is an overview of the disability, statistics of how many are affected, characteristics of the disability, classroom issues/ impacts of the disorder and treatment issues as they are related to the classroom.

 
Full Report

Overview/definition of the disability

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the name of a group of behaviors found in many children and adults. The areas that characterize ADHD would be hyperactivity, impulsivity and poor sustained attention. This means that children with ADHD may have trouble with motor restlessness, maintaining focus, avoiding distractions and controlling impulses. (Levine, 2003)

There are three subtypes of ADHD. These sub types include the predominantly inattentive type (IN), the Predominantly Hyperactivity-Impulsivity type (HI) and the Combined type (CB). The students in the IN subtype have trouble maintaning focus and are easily distracted. The Students in the HI subtype have trouble sitting still, playing quietly and tend to go on and on when talking. The students in the CB category have features of both the IN and HI subtypes (Turnbull, Turnbull, Shank, Smith, 2004).

Scientists believe that there are two possible causes of ADHD. They believe that there are environmental factors that may have an impact on the disorder (the use of cigarettes/alcohol during pregnancy, high levels of lead) and that there biological factors such as genetics, postnatal trauma (pre and peri natal trauma also) and brain deficiencies that may have an impact on the disorder.
   

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<>Statistics on how many are affected

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed neurological and behavioral disorders. In 1999, about four million children received a diagnosis of ADHD; today the numbers are still growing. Boys are 2-3 times more likely then girls to be diagnosed with ADHD(Levine,2003) and boys who are diagnosed with ADHD tend to show more disruptive behavior then girls(Linnet, Dalsgaard, Obel, Wisborg, Henriksen, Rodriguez, Kotimaa, Moilanen, Thomsen, Olsen, Jarven , 2003). Studies have also shown that ADHD in identical twins is anywhere between 50-80% and in fraternal twins It can be anywhere from 20-30 %.( Levine, 2003)

 

Classroom issues:

School is the most common place for symptoms and problems of ADHD to occur. Children who have ADHD find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time and to pay attention to things they do not find interesting. Because students with ADHD have problems in the areas of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity school is going to be very difficult for them. If these students don’t receive the proper attention and support they may have difficulty maintaing good grades. If they have difficulty grasping the material they may act out or have feelings of failure. The classroom is also a difficult place for the ADHD child because they may have trouble making or keeping friends due to there impulsive behavior. These children have trouble focusing and may not be able to follow a conversation, control their hyperactive impulses or behave appropriately. This social aspect may cause problems between students in the classroom which can make the impulsivity of the ADHD child worse (Levine, 2003)

Because students with ADHD have such apparent difficulties in the areas of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity teachers may find them difficult to work with. Fortunately, these students can be helped by being kept interested, alert and oriented. Some ways teachers can do this is by walking around the class to make sure each student is looking where they should be, calling on students at random, having simple directions, alternating physical and mental activities and increasing the likeability of lessons by using videos, pictures etc.

Overall, the classroom is the most difficult place for a child with ADHD. School can be frustrating for not only the child but for the teachers and for the parents of the child with the ADHD also. A good way to help this frustration is collaboration. If the administration, teachers, parents and students all work together, classroom issues can be simplified.


   Characteristics of ADHD:

The diagnosis of ADHD can be difficult to make due to the fact of overlapping symptoms of other conditions. Fortunately, the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) has made a list of criteria to help classify the disorder. The DSM-IV says that a child who has six or more symptoms in the areas of inattention and/or hyperactivity -impulsivity for more then 6 months are likely to have ADHD. Some of the symptoms include:

Inattention:

  • Has difficulty paying attention on work or play activities
  • Has difficulty following directions
  • Appears not to listen
  • Has difficulty in organization
  • Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Forgets things
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful

Hyperactivity:

  • Is fidgety with hands or feet
  • Leaves seat/classroom when it is inappropriate
  • Runs or climbs inappropriately
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Is always on the go
  • Talks Excessively

Impulsivity:

  • Blurts out answers before being called on
  • Has difficulty waiting their turn
  • Interrupts others

(Levine, 2003)

If ADHD is suspected in a child, the family could seek assistance from a psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician, neurologist or a clinical social worker. After meeting with one of these specialists if the child is diagnosed with ADHD all of the above (except for the psychologist and social worker) could prescribe a medication.

 

Treatment issues as they relate to the classroom:

Unfortunately, there is not one treatment that will work for every child but there are a number of different medicines available to try. Within the medicines there are stimulants/nonstimulants and different types of time release capsules. The Medicines available include:

Stimulants:

*Methylphenidate

    • Ritalin, Focaline (4 hours)
    • Ritalin SR, Methylin ER (5-6 hours)
    • Ritalin LA, Metadate CD (8 hours)
    • Concerta (12 hours)

*Dextroamphetamine

o       Dextroamphetamine tablets (4 hours)

o       Dexedrine spansules (8 hours)

* Dextrolevoamphetamine

·        Adderall tablets (4-7 hours)

·        Adderall XR (10-12 hours)

Nonstimulants:

* Selective norelnephrine reuptake inhibitor

·        Atomoxetine (Strattera)

*Tricylic antidepressants

·        Desipamine (Norpramin

·        Imipramine(Tofranall)

·        Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

*Adreneric agents

·        Clonidine (Catapres)

·        Guanfacine (Tenex)

*Antidepressants

            Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

(Levine, 2003)

The things that a parent can do at home to help an ADHD child Include: Making a seclude, Make simple rules, Make simple directions, Reward good behavior, Supervise the child, Set a homework routine, Focus on effort, not grades and Talk with the child’s teacher.


Overall, ADHD is a very common disorder in today’s world. Luckily, there are a variety of medicines and techniques available to help the ADHD child. Educational materials about ADHD are becoming widely available and hopefully doctors and scientists will continue to learn about ADHD and pass their knowledge on to the public.




References


Levine, P.L. (2003) Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder presentation, Diagnosis and
           Treatment of ADHD, Supplement Journal, 3-15.

 

<>Linnet, K.M, Dasgaard S.,Obel, .C, Wisborg. K, Henriksen, T.B.,Rodriguez.A., Kotimaa
A., Moilanen. I., Thomsen. P.H.,Olsen.J.,Jarvelin. M.R.(2003) Maternal Lifestyle Factors in Pregnancy Risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Associated Behaviors: Review of the current Evidence. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 160:6,1028-1039

 

<>Turnbull, R., Turnabull. A., Shank.M., Smith.S.J. (2004) Exceptional Lives Special
              Education in Today’s Schools, 4, 164-168.

 





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