Essay on an area of educational need: ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common and most distressing disorders amongst school-age children, yet it is probably one of the least well understood. It has received a lot of awareness mainly because of the large numbers of children receiving drug treatment for the disorder. Where children have behavioural problems and parents are finding it hard to manage, it is expected that they will turn to teachers for guidance and help. ADHD can drastically affect children's development at school, not only their work but also their social progress and the relationships that they have with teachers and their peers. If not identified early, long-term problems can lead to poor educational achievement and social seclusion. For these reasons, it is crucial that teachers know about the disorder and are able to offer proper support to children in their classes and guidance to parents, as well as helping them access other sources of information and direction. In this essay I will examine the prevalence of ADHD, its signs, symptoms and the challenge these pose to teachers. I will outline what research says about managing and teaching these children in today's classrooms.
What is ADHD?
Numerous terms have been used to describe the disorder with the symptoms of ADHD. These include Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD), Hyperkinetic reaction and Hyperkinesis. Throughout this essay I will refer to it as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a disorder with an enduring biological cause. It is not merely the end result of deprived parenting or the annoying nature of the child. In some ways it is similar to other illnesses that arise in children, in that it can have serious effects if it is not sufficiently treated.
ADHD is not a recently recognise condition. People with its symptoms have perhaps always existed. In 1902 a British physician, Fredric Still, described "abnormal psychical conditions" in children and the concept of "deficit in moral control" In Lancet he described the syndrome characterised by a "deficit in sustained attention, neurological abnormalities including twitching, minor hereditary anomalies, fidgetiness, aggression, rule breaking and destructiveness." He linked those symptoms to a biological and constitutional cause. ADHD is now commonly diagnosed as a neuron-developmental disorder; the symptoms of this disorder evolve over time.
What are its causes?
There is no fixed single cause of ADHD. A wide and complex collection of influential factors, which are biological, psychological and social in nature, and which can network in different ways are likely to be responsible. The pattern of causes and links is not the same in all cases (Johnston, 1991). Research findings have been incompatible mainly because of the frequency of associated disorders. The causes have included genetic factors, brain differences, family and social factors, diet and levels of lead in the bloodstream. I have outlined them below:
ADHD may be mainly an inherited condition or there may be a biological tendency to the disorder. Goodman and Stevenson (1989), for example, estimated that heredity accounted for between 30 to 50 per cent of the disorder whist common environmental factors such as poverty, family life style, pollution or diet, accounted for up to 30 per cent. There is little forceful verification at this time that ADHD can occur purely from social factors or child raising methods, although it may be worsened by such factors.
Neurological studies suggest that the uneven metabolism of brain chemicals adds directly to the behavioural patterns seen in children with ADHD.
A deficiency in neurotransmitter in the areas of the brain involved in response inhibition, attention and sensitivity to rewards and punishments may characterise some individuals with the...