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Attention Deficit Disorder Essay, Research Paper
I decided to select the topic of Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and get
information on it because when I observed the elementary school teacher she mentioned
ADD and also the teacher interview that I did was with a MIS I classroom teacher who
also mentioned he had some students that had been diagnosed as having ADD.
Attention deficit disorder according to Mosby?s Medical, Nursing and Allied
Health Dictionary is defined as a ?syndrome affecting children, adolescents, and some
adults characterized by learning and behavior disabilities?. The symptoms include having
impairment in perception, conceptualizing, language, decreased attention span, increased
impulsivity? and sometimes hyperactivity. In the definition it says that ADD is 10 times
more prevalent in boys than in girls and this I find may be because boys tend to be more
aggressive than girls especially at an earlier age. What is disappointing to me is that there
are as many girls with ADD problems that are overlooked and they may have difficulties
later in their lives if they are not diagnosed and treated.
The article I read was titled ?Attention deficit disorder: A review of the past
10 years.? It was written by Dennis P. Cantwell, in the Journal of the American
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, August 1996 v35 n8 p 978 (10pp).
Cantwell indicated that ADD is one of the most important disorders that child and
adolescent psychiatrists have been treating. It is important because it is quite ?prevalent?
and makes up to ?50%? of the clinic?s clients. I find it disturbing that ADD interferes
with an individual?s life and development.
Cantwell informs us that the studies in the elementary school, grades 1 to 5, have
shown about 3% to 5% of school age children affected with ADD, and this figure does
not include students in preschool, adolescent nor the adult population. Cantwell also
indicates that the samples in the study had more males, ?9 to 1, in the clinical sample?,
which as I pointed up earlier may be due to the fact that boys are more aggressive and
have more noticeable ?impulsive? behavior than girls and thus more cases are reported on
boys than girls. What is really scary is that the many years that studies have been made
on the topic of ADD no one has found out what causes it. However, according to
Cantwell?s article he points out that it is known that it is not caused by ?brain damage?
but that related problems do run in the family. This has caused some people to feel that
genetics may play a part in the disorder. One good thing that I have found in the readings
which is positive, is that there is treatment that can correct ADD.
I learned that the treatment that can correct ADD is a combination of
psychotherapy and medication. One form of medication is that is popular is Ritalin.
Ritalin when properly administered and regulated has proven to be effective. According
to the literature Ritalin affects behavior by activating the attention center of the brain
stem. It calms children and allows them to be able to focus on particular tasks and
complete them. Both teachers whom I spoke with agreed that when the ADD students
took their medication they were more attentive and did focus more on their tasks. There
are side effects that do affect those who use Ritalin. These include nausea, headaches and
insomnia however the medication has to be closely monitored by the physician and family
members because Ritalin in large doses can lead to dependence.
The core symptoms deal with being inattentive, hyperactivity, some younger
children have temper tantrums, argumentative and aggressive behavior such as hitting
others and taking other people?s property. Adolescents in middle school or high school
are more noncompliant and are more negative in their mannerisms. Their ?inattention
and cognitive problems? may lead them to have poor organization , poor follow up on
tasks and taking part in risky types of behaviors such as taking drugs , alcohol, and
beginning to smoke. The adults with ADD problems tend to have poor concentration are
disorganized, do not finish their projects, and tend to procrastinate. I have discovered in
my readings of ADD that many who are affected by it have difficulty with
communication skills and with concentrating, they are easily distracted. Thus, as
educators working with these groups requires that one be structured and have them work
in areas where there is the least amount of distraction, something which in our classrooms
and in society is difficult to do.
Cantwell in his article describes that there must be a ?multiple-modality approach
that combines psychosocial interventions and medical interventions? the psychosocial
intervention should focus with the family and any one that is working with the individual
with ADD, such as the school teacher and staff members as well. I agree that everyone
should be educated about what is happening and see to it that the medication is taken on
time as prescribed. Discussed in the article, and I agree, is the process that is needed to
assess students who may have ADD. In the assessment process there is a great deal of
rating scale information that needs to be gathered from parents, teachers, and any other
individuals that work with the student. In addition specialized tests, performance tasks,
comprehensive interviews with parent and child as well, medical reports and many other
diagnostic measure are used to determine if an individual has ADD. I am happy to see
that there is not only one or two tests that determines if an individual has ADD. I am also
happy to see that there is a great deal of parental management training that helps reduce
the child?s behavior in the home and also helps the parents deal with the many stresses
that they may have with their children.
In my interview with the MIS I teacher I observed that although academic
performance was important there was a great deal of effort in classroom behavior and
group relationships which I feel is extremely important in group and social relationships.
The class environment for those who are in these classes need to be as structured as
possible and this is true of those who suffer from ADD. In addition I now realize from
the readings that ADD students need to be close to the teacher where they will be less
distracted and more able to focus on their tasks. I believe that in classes where there are
ADD students that two certified teachers would be better able to work with the students
and would become more personally involved with the students on an individual basis
thus, channeling their talents and personal skills in a positive and productive manner
which they can use throughout their lives.
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