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. 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...
Cited: 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
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
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
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