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Why Teachers Should Understand ADHD Essay

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Why Teachers Should Understand Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


What is Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADD/ADHD]? Some feel it is a neurobiological disorder while others say it is a learning disorder. Ever since 1980 when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders officially recognized ADD/ADHD as a behavior disorder, the definition has kept evolving and changing. But ADD/ADHD has been around a lot longer than twenty-three years. Some in the medical professions believe “ADHD is a common mental disorder and has been recognized in one form or another for over a century” (Conners and Jett, 1999, p. 3). Teacher oriented literature leans toward classifying ADD/ADHD as a learning disorder of the ‘other health impaired’ type. It was not until the year 2000 that ADD/ADHD could even qualify as an impairment in the eyes of educational law (United States Department of Education, 2000).

At present, there is no cut and dry definition of ADD/ADHD. There is also “no valid neurological or physiological test that can be used to diagnose ADHD” (Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, 1999). What we do have is a list of common symptoms of the disorder. According to Phelan, (1996) there are eight major characteristics that one can look for in a child:

1. Inattention/Distractibility

2. Impulsivity

3. Difficulty delaying gratification/Impatience

4. Hyperactivity

5. Emotional over arousal

6. Non – compliance

7. Social problems

8. Disorganization

Inattention/Distractibility is the most important ...


... middle of paper ...


...ns for students with ADD. Intervention in School & Clinic, 38 (5), 280 – 289.

Snider, V. E., Busch, T. & Arrowood, L. (2003). Teacher knowledge of stimulant medication and ADHD. Remedial & Special Education, 24 (1), 46 – 57.

Stevens, S. (1996). The LD Child and the ADHD Child: Ways Parents and Professionals Can Help. Winston – Salem, NC: John F. Blair, Publisher.

Sturomski, N. (1997) Teaching students with learning disabilities to use learning strategies. NICHCY News Digest, 25, 2 – 12.

U.S. Department of Education. (2000). The 22nd annual report to congress on the implementation of the individuals with disabilities education act. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Office of Special Education.

Zentall, S. S., Moon, S. M., & Grskovic, J. A. (2001). Learning and motivational characteristics of boys with AD/HD and/or giftedness. Exceptional Children, 67, 499 – 519.


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