What is Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder (AD/HD) is mostly an organic problem, which tends to run in families. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in childhood. An estimated 3 to 5 percent of the general population suffers from the disorder, which is characterized by agitated behavior and an inability to focus on tasks. In the early 20th century, American doctors were discussing children who had problems similar to those described by George Fre*censored* Still, who was the first know researcher in Attention Deficit research.

The one thing that many of these children had in common, other than their ADD type symptoms, was that they were survivors of the encephalitis epidemic in 1917-1918. Numerous papers described children with post encephalitic behavior disorder as impaired in attention, regulation of activity, and impulse control. Like Stills patients, these children were also socially disruptive and many had memory problems. (About. com: 2) At this time, the disorder was not recognized as AD/HD, but was known as Brain Damaged because of the encephalitis.

As time passed, other researchers discovered that these children were not brain damaged but had a learning disability. It was not until 1980 this disorder was recognized as ADHD. ADHD problems can effect many areas of a childs life: self-esteem, academic skills, social relationships, and family relationships. Treatments need to be as broad as the effect and include Psycho-Education, Medication (including herbs and homeopathic drugs), Behavioral therapies, Social Skills, Organization and/or time management, Family therapy, Individual therapy, and Sensory-motor integration.

Stimulants such as amphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) have been used for over 50 years in the treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), making them one of the oldest pharmacological treatments in psychiatry. The efficacy and safety of these medications in decreasing the symptoms of AD/HD is supported by extensive literature of controlled studies (up to 24 months of treatment). The side effects, most commonly anorexia and insomnia, have also been well documented.

With continuous use, a decrease in growth, both weight and height can occur. The decrease in height growth is transient and does not change the ultimate adult height. Stimulants, however, do not “cure” AD/HD and symptoms usually re-emerge upon drug discontinuation. (Vitiello: 1) As you can see, these drugs used to help children with this disorder also add to the complications, but still the easiest and most accurate route and the one that has proven to be the most efficacious for the greatest number of people with the diagnosis of ADHD.

It has been found that children who receive Ritalin are most likely not to have a substance abuse problem, where others turn to drugs by the end of their teens or early twenties to cope with the disorder. The classroom can be one of the most aggravating places for the ADHD student, his/her classmates, and the teacher. For the student, paying attention in class is a job in itself. The slightest sound or movement can distract the student without him realizing what happen. The physical arrangement of the classroom is very important to the ADHD student.

Tables are more distracting than individual desks. Posters on the walls may look nice, but there needs to be at least some white space that is free of clutter. Seat the student near the teachers desk, but include them as part of the regular class seating. Surround the student with good role models, preferably students whom they view as significant others.

Bob Seay, the author of Teaching the AD/HD Student, list a few helpful tips on things that can be done to decrease distractions: Seat ADHD students in the front, middle of the room. Incorporate a variety of learning activities into your classes h Limit any kind of noise or activity so that it is less likely for ADD students to become distracted. h Work with your ADHD students one-on-one if you can. h Never let the student think that you don’t want to deal with him or her because of ADHD. This will only frustrate the student and lead to more problems in the classroom. When giving ADHD students instructions, maintain eye contact during verbal instructions.

Make directions clear and concise; be consistent with daily instructions. Simplify complex directions and avoid multiple commands. Make sure the student understands the instructions before beginning the lesson. An important thing to remember is to make the student feel comfortable with asking questions because most ADHD students will not ask for help. Gradually reduce the amount of assistance, these children will need more help for longer periods of times than the average child. (The Council: 2)

ADHD is not one of those things that one grows out of. Studies show that symptoms of childhood ADHD persist into adulthood in about half of the cases. The specific manifestations change over the life span, however, and it is possible that the adult syndrome is significantly under-diagnosed. Symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults usually differ from those found in children. People most commonly think of ADHD as hyperactivity, but the researchers found that inattention is the most common symptom among adults.

The most commonly reported inattentive symptoms were difficulty sustaining attention, shifting activities frequently, and difficulty following through on tasks. (Mercola: 1) Studies suggest that ADHD in adults is associated with relatively specific risks for disruptive behavior disorders, school and job performance problems, and driving risks. (Barkley: 1) Researchers have studied this disorder for years, but there is not a cure. Although medication helps there are side effects.

I have volunteered for an elementary school and worked with am ADHD student. He was very intelligent, but he would get bored very quickly. As long as he had some one to sit with him to help keep him on task he was considered a good student; as soon as he was left alone he would begin to disturb his classmate. From working with this student and writing this paper, I have decided to continue to major in education but minor in Special Ed. This will give me the opportunity to help children like the student at College Park Elementary School.

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