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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the common behavioral problems seen among children across the world. The exact reasons for ADHD are still unknown even though there are different theories and principles regarding the causes of this problem. Oppositional behavior toward adults, conduct problems, academic failure, smoking, use of illicit drugs and day dreaming are some of the commonly seen symptoms of ADHD. However, hyperactivity and lack of attentiveness are the serious problems associated with this behavioral disorder. Children with ADHD struggle to pay attention in school, at home or at work. This paper briefly explains various dimensions, problems and implications of ADHD among children in the age group of 5-12.
Developmental and Attention Deficit Problems Among ADHD Children
According to Dyck and Piek (2012), developmental and attention problems are the most serious primary problems associated with ADHD. ADHD is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type (Sroubek, Kelly, & Li 2013). Children with ADHD may engage in excessive activities and face difficulty in controlling their behavior in front of others. For example, an ADHD child of 12 years of age may exhibit the behavior of a 3- or 4-year-old child because of the brain underdevelopment. As a result, such children fail to behave properly in schools, society, or at home.
Children with ADHD cannot give a lengthy period of attention even to activities of their interest. Their attention may shift regularly from one activity to another (Willcutt, 2012). As a result of that parents and teachers of such children face a lot of problems at home and schools respectively. The performances of such children in schools may not be good because of the attention deficit problems.
ADHD Children in the Age Group of 5-12
Sherman, Rasmussen, andDepartment of Pediatrics , University of Alberta , Edmonton, Can Baydala (2008) conducted a study among North American elementary school-aged children (with approximate ages of 5 to 12 years old) with ADHD. They have found that teacher factors such as gestures, patience, knowledge of intervention techniques, ability to cope up with an interdisciplinary team, and a positive attitude towards children with special needs can impact the outcomes of various measures of ADHD children. They found that a positive gesture from the part of the teacher would help ADHD children the above mentioned age group to solve many puzzles (Sherman et al., 2008). Department of Pediatrics , University of Alberta , Edmonton, Canada
ADHD children in the age group of 5-12 tend to have abnormal functioning, or dysregulation, of certain brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. The magnitude of abnormal functioning may be different among children with ADHD (Groom et al., 2017). Hyperactivity is commonly seen among ADHD children in the age group of 5-12. It is used as a defensive mechanism by such children to release their frustration. It should be noted that ADHD children experiences many frustrations and dejections because of the malfunctioning of their brain. They may not be satisfied by the activities performed by them. That is why they constantly change their attention from one activity to another. However, many of the parents do not have proper knowledge about the symptoms of ADHD and hence they may shout at such children. Such heated behaviour from parents may intensify the frustrations of ADHD children and they may show more hyperactivity.
Because of the hyperactivities of ADHD children, schools usually admit them in special classrooms. For example, Malmqvist and Nilholm (2016) mentioned that at least 40 Swedish municipalities have classes specifically designed for pupils with ADHD. They mentioned that these classes are not properly evaluated even though they are specifically designed for ADHD children (Malmqvist & Nilholm, 2016). In other words, authorities all over the world have the habit of considering ADHD children as the second class citizens. They provide special education to such children in special classrooms. However, they are not keen on analyzing what are happening in such classrooms. In other words lack of attention is provided to the educational needs of ADHD children in the age group of 5-12. Instead of inclusion, ADHD children face exclusion from the main streams of their social life.
One of the most common beliefs in the medical world about ADHD is that this problem is biologically based. Therefore medication is now considered the first line treatment for this disorder (Ryan, Katsiyannis, & Hughes, 2011). However, many other studies have shown that treating ADHD with behavioral therapies can bring better results compared to treating it with medications. This is true especially in the case of ADHD children in the age group of 5-12. It should be noted that ADHD children in the age group of 5-12 have better abilities in responding with the techniques of behavioral therapies. Behavior therapy can improve a child’s behavior, self-control, and self-esteem. It is most effective among ADHD children in the age group of 5-12 when it is delivered by parents (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). A vast majority of the time spent by ADHD children is at their homes and schools. Therefore, both parents and teachers can play a significant role in providing behavioral therapies to such children. It is necessary for the authorities to conduct awareness classes among parents and teachers on the administration of behavioral therapies among ADHD children. Behavioral therapies are intended for the replacement of negative behaviors with positive ones. Rewards can be used as a motivating tool for cultivating positive behaviors among ADHD children.
Teachers have a specific role in helping ADHD children. They should never ask any questions publicly to children with ADHD. The inability to answer the teacher’s question may distract him and he will lose whatever the interest left in him for studying. The student with ADHD must be allowed to relax frequently in order to release his stress or tensions. The student with ADHD may remain quiet by suppressing lot of thoughts going on through his mind. He must be allowed to release his suppressed energy in some ways by allowing his frequent breaks.
From the above research, I have learned that most parents try to treat ADHD with the help of heavy dosages of medicines. In my opinion, the usage of medicines should be minimized as much as possible in the case of ADHD children. Most of the psychotic medicines available in the market at present are addictive in nature. In other words, prolonged use of such medicines may create addiction. Therefore, ADHD should be treated mostly with cognitive behavioral therapies rather than medicines.
Today, children with ADHD are treated differently in schools. Many of the schools have special classrooms for teaching such children. This habit needs to be avoided completely. When ADHD children mingle with same type of children, they will not get opportunities to identify their behavioral problems. On the other hand when such children get opportunities to mingle with normal children, they will notice the good behavior of normal children and try to imitate such behaviors. ADHD should be treated just like another disorder. The ADHD children should never develop a feeling that they are second class citizens in the society. Paying more attention to the needs of ADHD children would help such children to develop rapidly. Parents, teachers and the society should behave more sympathetically with ADHD children. Enough care and attention should be given to ADHD children both in schools and also at homes. Normal children in classrooms should give awareness classes about how to behave with ADHD children.
In my opinion, all people in this world have some kind of behavioral problems. It is impossible to identify a person who behaves properly at home and in the society. Therefore, blaming or maltreatment of ADHD children for their irrational behaviors cannot be accepted under any circumstances.
- Dyck, M.J., & Piek, J.P. (2012). Developmental delays in children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 20(10), 1–20.
- Groom, M.J., Kochhar, P., Hamilton, A., Liddle, E.B., Simeou, M. & Hollis, C. (2017). A typical processing of gaze cues and faces explains comorbidity between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(5), 1496–1509.
- Malmqvist, J., & Nilholm, C. (2016). The antithesis of inclusion? The emergence and functioning of ADHD special education classes in the swedish school system. Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties, 21(3), 287–300.
- Ryan, J.B., Katsiyannis, A., & Hughes, E. M. (2011). Medication treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Theory Into Practice, 50(1), 52–60.
- Sroubek, A., Kelly, M., & Li, X. (2013). Inattentiveness in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuroscience Bulletin, 29(1), 103–110.
- Sherman, J.Centre for Research in Child Development, University of Alberta , Edmonton, Canada , Rasmussen, C., Department of Pediatrics , University of Alberta , Edmonton, Canada & Baydala, L. (2008). The impact of teacher factors on achievement and behavioural outcomes of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A review of the literature. Educational Research, 50(4), 347–360
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). Behavior therapy for young children with ADHD.
- Willcutt, E.G. (2012). The prevalence of DSM-IV attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A meta-analytic review. Neurotherapeutics, 9(3), 490–499.