Student Professor English 101 18 Aug. 2009 Children with ADHD ADHD may not make someone look different on the surface, but one can see it plainly if they know what behavior traits to look for. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic psychiatric conditions among children and is based on such behavioral criteria as impulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention and or learning disabilities (Curbing Impulsivity). It is the single most common learning and behavioral problem in children, it is estimated that nearly 2 million children in the United States are affected by this disorder (U.
S. Dept of Health). While the number of children diagnosed with ADHD increases dramatically every year, there is still much about the disorder that is not understood. Many parents and professionals use the terms ADD and ADHD interchangeably, however in 1994, the American Psychiatric Association renamed ADD to ADHD (Barkley 25). Understanding ADHD is extremely important, as it can contribute to problems at home and school, and affect a child’s ability to learn and get along with others socially. ADHD is the preferred term because it describes three primary aspects of the behavior; inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive.
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The second most common type of ADHD is inattentive. A short attention span is the hallmark symptom of this disorder. “Unfortunately, many of these children never get diagnosed. Instead they are labeled slow, lazy, spacey,or unmotivated” (Amen 93). There is a list of symptoms of inattention in the DSM-IV, the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Personswho qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD have at least six of these symptoms and suffer significant impairment as a result: Often children with this type have severe problems paying close attention to details, or make careless mistakes in schoolwork, or other activities.
They are usually distracted by an overstimulation environment or when a situation is low key or dull; their minds tend to wander and they frequently get distracted, thinking about or doing other things than the task at hand. Usually their attention is focused when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics of interest to them, but when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out. Children affected by this aspect of ADHD have a serious problem organizing their homework as they forget to write down their assignments, bring the wrong book home or leave their books at school.
Kids with ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them; they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to sustain attention (American Psychiatric Association). The third type of ADHD is impulsivity. Impulsivity is found in two areas: Behavioral Impulsivity, “the things that you do” and Cognitive Impulsivity, “the way that you think and make choices (Ferrari). The first area under this type to discuss is Behavioral Impulsivity. ADHD Childrenwho have symptoms of behavioral impulsivity do not stop and think before they act.
No matter how many times they are told to “stop and think first” the next time the situation comes up, they may well do the same impulse thing again. They are often not able to learn from their past mistakes (Newideas. net). They will often blurt out inappropriate comments, display their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for the later consequences of their conduct (U. S. Dept of Health). Their learning threshold is very high, and if you don’t excite them or motivate them enough to get them above that learning threshold, they don’t learn, and they make the same mistake again.
They act on the first impulse that occurs to them; they cut in line, blurt out answers in class, speak when they’re supposed to be quiet, maybe show aggressive behaviors and often have poor social skills (Ferrari). This can be quite exasperating to their parents, teachers, and other caregivers, which may in itself further add to the problem. The second area under this type is Cognitive Impulsivity. Guessing is their problem solving method of choice. Cognitive impulsive ADHD children make a multiple number of guesses in a short period of time.
If given multiple choice questions orally, they will guess for the right answer very quickly, then answer another, often back and forth, until one steps in to say “that’s it. ” Of course this pattern only reinforces their guessing (Ferrari). These cognitively impulsive ADHD children have very limited problem solving strategies. They are impaired in their ability to think the problem through. They usually just guess and let trial and error take its course (Newideas. net). This not only tends to have a negative effect on how others perceive them, it also interferes with their ability to learn new material, nd further develop more effective problem solving strategies. This is an important aspect of the behavior as it reduces a child’s ability to understand “learning for life lessons. ” Guessing and trial and error in real life can easily produce poor results and lead to great consequences for the child with ADHD. Without treatment it is difficult for this child to be able to face the world as a responsible adult. Extensive research on thethree primary aspects of ADHD has been done by Dr. Russell Barkley. Dr. Barkley is an internationally recognized authority on ADHD in children and adults.
Listed below is a summary of his findings: A classroom with 30 students will have between 1 and 3 children with ADHD. Boys are diagnosed with ADHD 3 times more often than girls. Emotional development in children with ADHD is 30% slower than in their non-ADD peers. 25% of children with ADHD have serious learning disabilities such as: oral expression, listening skills, reading comprehension, and/or math. 65% of children with ADHD exhibit problems in defiance or problems with authority figures. This can include verbal hostility and temper tantrums. 5% of boys diagnosed with ADHD have hyperactivity. 60% of girls diagnosed with ADHD have hyperactivity. 40% of children with ADHD and a parent with ADHD. 50% of children with ADHD experience sleep problems. 75% have interpersonal problems; untreated ADHD sufferers have a higher percentage of motor vehicle accidents, speeding tickets, citations for driving without a license, and suspended or revoked licenses. 21% of teens with ADHD skip school on a regular basis, and 35% drop out before finishing high school. 45% of children with ADHD have been suspended from school at least once. 2% of untreated teens and adults abuse drugs or alcohol. 19% smoke cigarettes (compared to 10% of the general population. 43% of untreated hyperactive boys will be arrested for a felony by age 16. 50% of inmates in a number of studies have been found to have ADD (75% in one study). 30% of children have repeated a year in school. In conclusion no one knows exactly what causes ADHD. Research shows that ADHD has aspects of learning and behavior problems in children. As seen from the evidence, the primary behavior categories are hyperactivity, inattentive and impulsivity.
These help parents better understand theirchildren. It has been proven that ADHD is a disorder of the brain, rather than just a behavior problem, and that it is not caused by excess sugar in the diet or poor parenting, as was thought for generations (Overcoming ADHD 16). Despite the fact that this disorder has evolved significantly over the past 50 years, studies have consistently shown that ADHD is a familial disorder and that its transmission in families is mediated, at least in part, by genes (Khan and Faraone 393).
Having an ADHD child or teenager is often extremely stressful on a family system, even those with the best parenting skills deteriorate when they’re up against the day-to-day stress of ADHD kids. Intervention with the parents and family is crucial to a healthy outcome for these children; this could include counseling, therapy, and medication. Experts suggest that it’s likely to be more successful if everyone who is responsible for the child; teachers, administrators, coaches, other leaders and the parent, areall working together from the same page (Overcoming ADHD 19).
Although ADHD may appear to be very taxing on the child and those caregivers around him, with the right behavioral therapy, medication and unconditional love and respect from family, these children can change behavior and become productive adults in society. Works Cited Newideas. Net, ADHD Information Library: The essential website for parents on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. http://newideas. net/adhd/about-attention-deficit/impulsivity Amen, Daniel G. , MD. , Healing ADD: The breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD, New York, The Berkley Publishing Group, 2001.
American Psychiatric Association. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition, Text Revision, Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press Washington DC, 2001. Barkley, Russell, PH. D. , ADHD and the Nature of Self-Control. New York, Guilford Press, 1996. Barkley, Russell, PH. D. , Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment. New York, Guilford Press, 1998. “Curbing Impulsivity in Children with ADHD,” Science News; Science Daily, 5 Mar 2008 Family Doctor. org, ADHD: What Parents Should Know. ccessed 13 Aug 2009. Ferrari, Stephen A. , MD. , Alta-Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback; “Impulsivity in Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD;” 29 Jan 2009. Overcoming ADHD: And coming into your own. American Academy of Pediatrics: Healthy Children, Back to School 2008 Issue. Vitality Communications, Greensboro, NC, 2008. Turecki, Stanley, MD, _The Difficult Child, _New York, Bantam Books, 2000. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH Publication No. 08-3572, Revised 2008.