Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Essay, Research Paper
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), is the most common psychiatric disorder among children today. It s symptoms are not necessarily obvious and start at various times. Some children give indication of having the disorder before they are born, others are not diagnosed with having it until their preteen years. ADHD overlaps with several other conditions, further confusing physicians and mental health professionals who attempt to provide a diagnosis.
Hyperactive children, who are often misdiagnosed as “emotionally disturbed,” create a lot of chaos in the home and at school. The number, severity, and types of symptoms differ from one child to the next, each of whom show a different pattern of behavior and personality. There are, however, certain similarities among ADHD children.
ADHD was described as early as 1845 by the German physician Henrich Hoffman in his classic Der Struwelpeter (Slovenly Peter), a collection of humorous moral tales for children. The heroes were taken from his observations of children. In 1902, Dr. G. F. Still, described the behavior of a group of hyperactive children. He knew of no medical reasons for their behavior and made no mention of their educational needs or social skills. He said that part of the problem with ADHD children was “deficient training in the home.” In 1923, researcher, F. G. Ebaugh, was one of the first to publish a professional paper recognizing ADHD as a long-term problem requiring cooperation and intervention by several professional disciplines.
Over the past four decades, dozens of labels have been used for a collection of traits that has come to be known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children who have some of these traits show them most of the time; the types, number, and level vary within each child from moment to moment and from situation to situation.
Research studies point to a 5 to 10% number of children who have the syndrome. Some experts believe the true number is closer to 20% of the general population. In a recent study of over 9000 children in the Midwest, the number of children who have been medically diagnosed as hyperactive was about 3%. The number of undiagnosed children, based on data from teachers and parents, was estimated at about 4%. In a comparable study in Canada, the overall number of ADHD was 5%. Of the children referred to mental health clinics in the United States, 3 to 5% are diagnosed as having ADHD. Surveys employing teacher s and parent s ratings generally find a 10 to 30% number of ADD children (with or without hyperactivity) in school-age populations.
Many characteristics of ADHD children are socially appropriate and desirable. Their zest, tirelessness, enthusiasm, intensity, curiosity, and life of the party energy have their useful moments and serve as social catalysts. Researches believe there is a link between ADHD and giftedness. ADHD children have rich imaginations and can quickly generate new and different ideas. They also seem to be aware of sensations that others miss. They can combine unrelated ideas in ways so their art productions and written compositions show a special measure of creativity. When ADHD children are treated biochemically, these personal expressions display even greater variety, depth, and attention to detail. Some of the most creative people in history, including Thomas Edison, had this disorder.
ADHD is difficult to diagnose because, like all behavior disorders, it tends to appear gradually. Neurological and physiological studies indicate that ADHD sufferers have a wide range of biochemical imbalance and uniqueness. Symptoms phase in and out in various settings and change somewhat from moment to moment. The child often seems mentally alert, smiling, energetic, and interested in contact with others. One of the most difficult aspects of this disorder is deciding how much of the unusual behavior is “normal.”
Compared with ADHD girls, ADHD boys are generally more likely to be overactive, too aggressive, too disruptive, and referred for child guidance services. Both ADHD girls and ADHD boys are physically active and rowdy, with the girls being tomboyish. Among ADHD children 60 to 80% are boys.
ADHD sufferers are poor at focusing concentration, channeling effort, and saving energy for useful purposes. It is if they are drawn magnetically to any stray flash of light, any noise, or any internal body signal. The result is a short attention span and a tendency to be distracted by whatever is unimportant and irrelevant and to flit from activity to activity, discontinuing efforts before each task comes to a proper completion. They seem overly aware and alert, but about the wrong things,
Motivation plays a large role in determining attention to a task. Parents and teachers consistently have trouble differentiating between the circumstances in which ADHD children can t focus and in those in which they aren t interested in focusing. The result is that the focusing of attention is variable from one situation to another. These children are especially distracted when mental discipline or self-restraint is needed, as when functioning in a group or performing a difficult or uninteresting task. Participating sports, television shows, videotapes, and computer games and instructional programs all feature enough novelty, movement, and fascination to command the sustained interest and attention of the most hyperactive children.
ADHD children have trouble recognizing an object that stands out from the background. This trait applies to handling ideas. They are poor at recognizing what is important, and making decisions based on relevant factors. They have trouble organizing and arranging homework, for example they may go out and play instead of studying for a test they have the next day. They might appear scatterbrained, absentminded, and forgetful. They can learn something new one day, and completely forget it the next day.
ADHD children have trouble understanding ordinary conversations or lectures, especially sorting out details, listening for key information, and sifting through what the other person is saying for points of agreement. They are confused by instructions, especially those involving three or four steps in a row. They have difficulty computing logically. They can become sidetracked and hung up with one unimportant detail. They also tend to be inflexible and have poor verbal skills.
ADHD children jump, fidget, squirm, wiggle, and run. Somehow, they hardly ever sit still or walk calmly from one place to another. They often run ahead and need to be called back by someone when in public. They need to be constantly busy and are unable to sit quietly and restfully. Even when focusing on a television show or computer screen, they change body position, make tapping noises, or move constantly. They tend to poke, touch, feel, and grab, especially in stores and in school hallways. Repetitive behaviors such as thumb sucking, nail biting, scratching and picking at sores and fingernails, teeth grinding, or pulling out hair one strand at a time are common.
These children also seem to be constantly moving their mouths. They are consistently noisy and loud at play, and making clicks, whistles, and sounds and producing an endless stream of noise. ADHD children also have sleeping problems, coordination problems, are self-centered, impatient, reckless, and have extreme emotional problems.
Some indications that a child will be ADHD are, apparent hyperactivity in the womb, poor maternal health, mother under 20 years of age, first pregnancy, high blood pressure during pregnancy, maternal alcohol abuse, heavy maternal smoking, and drug abuse.
Research now indicates that hyperactive children continue to have multiple problems as adolescents, though the hyperactivity has decreased. Problems with aggression, poor self-concept, impaired peer relationships, and poor school performance become prominent. The ADHD adolescent is often sad and depressed.
Children whose obseverable symptoms continue into adolescents have higher rates of delinquency and conduct disorders and lower IQ s and academic achievement scores than those whose symptoms stop at early adolescence. There are many helpful and sucessful programs for children and adolescents who have this disorder. With the right help and medication, many ADHD children can grow up to lead a normal life.