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Author: National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia

Educational Problems Encountered by Children with ADHD, and Some Solutions

Low attention and concentration levels children with ADHD have a great deal of difficulty filtering out unnecessary inputs. They are easily distracted and have a short attention span. Some children have problems with visual inputs and may be distracted by the movements of people or other forms. Some have difficulty with sound inputs such as people talking or background noise. Students with ADHD have greater difficulty listening to important messages when they are presented with unimportant detail. These students also have more difficulty thinking while in the presence of interesting conversation. Failure to selectively attend to small changes could explain some of the deficits observed with mixed-action, -operation, and -order-of-operation word problems (Zentall 1993). The Dunedin study explored behavioural distinctions in children with reading disabilities and/or ADHD (Pisecco, Baker, Silva et al 1996). Impulsivity Impulsivity is shown in the child’s difficulty in withholding active responses (blurting out statements; grabbing materials). Impulsivity produces academic errors, primarily because an individual fails to wait long enough to consider alternative information, consequences, or responses. According to Silver (1990) some children have “short fuses”; they do not stop to think before acting. Children with ADHD are also less likely to ask for help. That is, they do not request additional confirmatory information when it involves delaying action (Whalen, Henker, Collins et al 1979). Low self-esteem Academic and social difficulties make it very likely that...

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The Management of ADHD in Society

Inter-agency collaboration The multimodal assessment and management necessary for the individual with ADHD and his/her family is organised on a case management basis. However, the widespread effects of the persistence, co-morbidity and social dysfunction of ADHD on the individual, family and society require broader inter-agency collaboration. A wide variety of human service agencies, largely within the health, education, welfare and justice systems, provide assistance with management of the disorder and its effects. While the majority of children and adolescents with ADHD and co-morbidity are managed in mainstream regular classrooms and within the child’s usual family environment, the co-morbidity and...

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Seven Simple Steps to Feeling Good about You

Here are 7 Ways To Feel Good About Your Life: 1. Ask yourself questions. Every time you feel frustrated with a task, ask yourself, “How does this task fit in with my ultimate goals?” “How can I make this more fun, easier, better, and faster?” 2. Be interested and curious about yourself and others. Curiosity is a learned art. Practice it by taking a new interest in “you”. 3. Accept your weakness. Everybody has one or two (yes, everybody!). Instead of spending your time and energy trying to “overcome” your weakness, make friends with it, and make it work...

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Behavior Management in ADHD

A carefully designed behavior modification program for the treatment of ADHD is labor-intensive (and therefore costly) and the beneficial effects are generalized poorly. When used alone, its contribution is quite modest. It is important to have incentive-based behavioral programs, since those based only on negative reinforcement or depriving privileges are not as effective as those with incentives (Garber, Garber and Spizman 1990). For a behavior modification program to be successful with a school-aged child, the child should be an active participant in the: negotiation and design of the program; setting of the goals; definition of “progress”; and selection of incentives. Cognitive behavior therapies The emphasis of these therapies is to enhance competencies (eg problem solving abilities, social skills) that are associated with adaptive functioning at home, school and other important settings. Designed to facilitate self-control, it is appropriate for children who exhibit impulsive, non-self-controlled behavior and/or manifest deficits in problem solving, (both impersonal and interpersonal). In their multicomponent intervention program, Braswell and Bloomquist (1991) provide the following example of a set of problem solving self-instructions: Stop!; What is the problem?; What are some plans?; What is the best plan?; Do the plan; and Did the plan work? By using a number of methods (eg behavioral contingencies, modelling, role-play exercises), children are trained to use the instructions in academic, social and other situations. Although most children can learn to use...

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Diet Therapy for ADHD

The notion that there is a relationship between diet and children’s behavior and learning originates from the early 1970s from Dr Ben Feingold, who in 1975 wrote a best selling book, Why Your Child is Hyperactive (Feingold 1975). He claimed in the book that food additives and naturally occurring salicylates adversely affected behavior in up to 50 per cent of children, but produced no scientific evidence to support these claims. However, these assertions were immediately taken up by large numbers of parents as well as professionals. There have been numerous studies in the past 20 years on the effects...

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