According to statistics, 11% of all school-age children have ADHD with diagnoses of ADHD rising by 41% in the last ten years; medication is given to 2.7million children diagnosed with ADHD, the cause of which is unknown. Scientists are studying a number of factors that may cause this disorder, including premature delivery and low birth weight. A diagnosis of ADHD can only be determined after an extensive exam. Brain scans taken at the Child Mind Institute show a 3% difference in volume between the area of the brain affecting attention span and impulse control between those that have ADHD and those that don’t.
Adolescent boys are twice as likely as adolescent girls to be diagnosed with ADHD with 20% of boys, 14-17, and 10% of girls, 14-17, having been diagnosed with the disorder. Teens with ADHD are involved in about four times as many accidens teens that do not have the disorder. Despite popular belief, no research has proven any link between ADHD and diet. Minority children are less likely to get diagnosed and treated for ADHD according to an article by Cheri Cheng (www.counselheal.com).
“Researchers found that African American children were two-thirds less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD in comparison to white children. Minority children have lower rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) not because the disorder is rare for this group of people, but rather, because of the disparities that exist in health care. According to a new study, minority children are less likely to get diagnosed with ADHD and as a result, they miss out on good treatment options that could change how the children grow up and develop. “‘We’re seeing that the disparities occur as early as kindergarten and then remain and continue until the end of eighth grade,’ the study’s lead researcher, Paul Morgan from the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, said to Reuters Health.
“‘It’s a consistent pattern of what we’re interpreting as comparative under-diagnosis for minority populations.’ Diagnosing ADHD is the first step in providing treatment that affect a child’relationships with family at home and peers and teachers at school, as well his/her behavior and how s/he learns. Akthough mostly associated with hyperaxtivity and inattention, ADHD is much broader in its scope and affects on children. There are several ways in which this disorder is exhibited presenting approximately six distinct types according to www.add101.com:
“Research literature, recent books, and common sense, all point to the fact that there are different types, or styles, of ADHD. In the past we referred to Attention Deficit Disorder: Inattentive Type, or Impulsive/Hyperactive Type, or a Combined Type. Today the diagnostic differences are a bit less clear, but the reality doesn’t change. Dr. Daniel Amen has written a great book on the subject, titled ‘Healing ADHD:The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD’ where he uses his SPECT scans of patient’s brain activity to help in making his six classifications.
“His classifications include these ‘Types’ … Classic ADD – Inattentive, distractible, disorganized. Perhaps hyperactive, restless and impulsive.Inattentive ADD – Inattentive, and disorganized. Over-focused ADD – Trouble shifting attention, frequently stuck in loops of negative thoughts, obsessive, excessive worry, inflexible, oppositional and argumentative. Temporal Lobe ADD – Inattentive and irritable, aggressive, dark thoughts, mood instability, very impulsive. May break rules, fight, be defiant, and very disobedient. Poor handwriting and trouble learning are common. Limbic System ADD – Inattentive, chronic low-grade depression, negative, low energy, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Ring of Fire ADD – Inattentive, extremely distractible, angry, irritable, overly sensitive to the environment, hyper-verbal, extremely oppositional, possible cyclic moodiness.
“Our classifications are a bit different, and are based more on our clinical observation and experiences. They are based on the classic children’s stories of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood so that they are easier for children and families to discuss and understand: Tigger Type ADD – Inattentive, impulsive, hyperactive, restless, bouncy. Winnie the Pooh Type ADD – Inattentive, distractible, disorganized. Nice, but lives in a cloud. Eeyore Type ADD – Inattentive, with chronic low-grade depression. Piglet Type ADD – Trouble shifting attention, excessive worry, easily startled. Rabbit Type ADD – Trouble shifting attention, inflexible, argumentative. Troubled Type ADD – Irritable, aggressive, impulsive, defiant, disobedient. Learning problems.”
Given this information, parents and teachers in a home-school collaboration can devise individualized instructional strategies and behavioral support to address ADHD with greater success and positive outcomes for the child in both environments. “We know that people with ADHD have higher rates of failing a grade in school, lower academic achievement, lower achievement in their jobs, higher rates of incarceration, higher rates of substance abuse, more problems with relationships, and higher rates of depression and anxiety.” (Pediatrician from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio, Dr. Tanya Froehlich, www.counselheal.com).
What Instructional Strategies Would You Use With Tigger?
Individualize instruction according to the type of ADHD a child exhibits. If a child is easily distracted, provide instruction for shorter periods of time and include more hands-on activities. Children that get bored quickly (inattentive, may have chronic, low-grade depression) may need more stimulating activities and might be more likely to interact with electronic learning strategies. A child who is easily distracted and disorganized and has trouble paying attention may need visual cues as reminders rather than auditory ones that s/he probably won’t hear. One that is aggressive, impulsive, and defiant will require more patience and an non-confrontational, but firm approach.
After Painting The Same Wall a Dozen Times, You Need a New Behavior Strategy
One of the simplest and most effective behavior strategies to use to teach children socially appropriate behavior isthe A-B-C method. Behavior is analyzed first starting with A (antecedent or before), what happened before the behavior, ex. child was told it was bedtime; then a description of what the child did, B, ex. child started running up and down the stairs; and finally C, what happened after the child did something inappropriate or what was ths consequence, ex. mother took the child upstairs and put child to bed. C is what is reinforcing B and will give parents and teachers cues on how to prevent B by changing A. In this case, instead of telling the child to go to bed, the parent might take the child to his/her room and read him/her a story after s/he gets ready for bed. It’s as easy as ABC!
If It’s Happening at School, It’s Probably Happening at Home
The collaboration between home and school is the most important step in addressing ADHD because children with this disorder benefit more from consistent strategies. In some cases, parents have to be convinced by teachers that their child is not just “being bad,” “lazy,” or “disobedient” and in other cases, such as with undiagnosed minority children, the parents may have to convince the teacher that there is a clinical reason for their child’s behavior. When home and school work together on behalf of a child with ADHD that child will be more likely to have success in school and in his/her interactions witj peers. Some of the ways parents and teachers can collaborate include: frequent communication between home and school using a notebook that goes back and forth each day, weekly emails or texts, and monthly telephone calls; clear instructions from school on how to assist a child with ADHD to complete homework assignments; occasional visits to the school by parents between conferences to talk face-to-face with the child’s teacher and/or observe the child in the classroom; and, if possible, occasional home visits by the teacher to observe the child interactions with family members and talk with parents in a less formal environment.