District Administration - May 2008 - (Page 78)

ESSENTIALS ON EDUCATION DATA AND RESEARCH ANALYSIS ResearchCenter Interventions for Students with ADHD By Carla Thomas McClure NOT EVERY CHILD WHO FIDGETS and fails to follow directions has attentiondeficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To receive this diagnosis from a health care professional, a child must exhibit chronic, developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulse hyperactivity, or both—and these behaviors must be manifested in more than one environment (e.g., home and school). Between 3 percent and 7 percent of children have ADHD, according to estimates from the American Psychiatric Association (2000), and these children often struggle socially and academically. What can research tell us about how to help them succeed? Understanding ADHD First, mainstream educators need opportunities to learn about ADHD. Most children with ADHD, including those receiving special education services, spend most of their time in general education classrooms (Schnoes et al., 2006). The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that each U.S. classroom includes at least one student with ADHD. Here are some basic facts teachers need to know: (1) The causes of ADHD seem to be grounded in neurobiology and genetics. The National Institute of Mental Health reports, “There is little compelling evidence at this time that ADHD can arise purely from social factors or child-rearing methods.” (2) Not all children with ADHD have the same types of challenges when it comes to attention and learning. The American Psychological Association has identified three different types of ADHD (see box). (3) ADHD behaviors may vary from day to day. (4) Children with ADHD sometimes have 78 May 2008 other conditions as well. About 33 percent to 50 percent, mostly boys, have oppositional defiant disorder; 20 percent to 40 percent develop a more serious antisocial behavior pattern called conduct disorder; 20 percent to 30 percent have a specific learning disability such as dyslexia; some have anxiety or depression; and a few have Tourette syndrome (NIMH, n.d.). (5) Stimulant medication is commonly used to treat the symptoms of ADHD, but The Three Types of ADHD 1. Predominantly Inattentive: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines. 2. Predominantly HyperactiveImpulsive: The person fidgets and talks a lot and finds it hard to sit still, wait his or her turn, or listen for directions. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, speak at inappropriate times, and have more accidents and injuries than others. 3. Combined: Symptoms of the above two types are equally predominant in the person. Source: American Psychological Association, 2000 medication alone is often not enough to produce the desired academic gains, and 20 percent to 30 percent of children do not react favorably to medication (Trout et al., 2007). (6) ADHD symptoms often lessen in adolescence but may persist into adulthood. Adolescents with ADHD are more likely than the general student population to be retained, get suspended, or quit school. Teachers who know about effective interventions can help children with ADHD manage behaviors that interfere with their own learning. According to an analysis of the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study, strategies that show evidence of effectiveness include “strategic seating, modified assignments (e.g., shorter assignments, frequent breaks), individualized instruction, cooperative learning (e.g., peer tutoring), behavioral modification interventions, and specialized consultation for teachers and parents.” Of these techniques, strategic seating was the only one that general educators in the study used as much or more than special educators (Schnoes et al., 2006). Academic Achievement “Because of the significant overlap between ADHD and academic underachievement, one might expect that there has been considerable research into nonmedical interventions to enhance academic functioning. However, this is not the case,” concluded Alexandra Trout and colleagues in 2007. Her team found 41 experimental studies that evaluated the impact of nonmedical interventions on the academic functioning of students with ADHD, but “significant limitations in the literature allow for few conclusions about intervention effects and generalizaDistrict Administration

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - May 2008

District Administration - May 2008
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Letters
News Update
Security Update
Curriculum Update
Inside the Law
District Profile
Administrator Profile
Book Excerpt
Addressing Food Allergies
Algebra: Changing the Equation
Stopping MRSA
Resources to Support Disabled Learners
Web Tools: The Second Generation
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
New Products
Speaking Out
Supervisor’s Opinion
Professional Opinion
Leadership Books
Research Center
Calendar of Events
Products Showcase
Understanding the Times

District Administration - May 2008

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