Characteristics of ADHD Students
The characteristics and needs of students with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder can vary considerably. Although all students might occasionally demonstrate some symptoms of ADHD, students diagnosed with this disorder display many of them prior to 7 years of age. Further, their symptoms are chronic and extraordinary. Consider this account from Mr. Mitchell, a high school social studies teacher, about Benjamin, one of his students:
I keep Ben seated right in the front of the room, next to where I'm most likely to stand while I'm teaching the large group. When I ask the class a question, Ben is likely to jump out of his seat and wave his hand in my face or jump up and down to get me to call on him. Sometimes I try to make eye contact with him to get him to sit down, but it usually works better if I just put my hand on his shoulder and push a little. When my students are working on their own, I may turn around to notice that Ben is "sitting" by balancing on the top of the back of his seat. If I make a general comment to the class about settling down, everyone does—except Ben. I try very hard not to correct him publicly, since he really doesn't seem to know what he is doing. Having Ben certainly has taught me a new kind of patience.
Intellectually, students with ADHD can function at any level, although the disorder usually is diagnosed in students who do not have intellectual disabilities. Students who are below average in ability and achievement, who are average learners, and who are gifted and talented all can have ADHD (Antshel et al., 2007). Their shared characteristics relate to how their brains function. That is, ADHD is not really about inattention; rather, it is the inability to regulate attention. The disorder develops when students fail to develop executive functions, that is, the ability to carry out the mental activities that help most people regulate their behavior (Barkley, 2006; Brown, 2007). Executive functions include these four activities:
- Working memory—the ability to remember what tasks are supposed to be done and how much time there is to do them
- Self-directed speech—the silent self-talk that most people use to manage complex tasks
- Control of emotions and motivation—the ability to talk oneself into calming down when faced with a difficult or frustrating task
- Reconstitution—the ability to combine skills learned across a variety of settings in order to carry out a new task, such as a student's knowledge that the rule for speaking in a low voice applies not only in the classroom but also in the hallways, lunchroom, and office
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
Add your own comment
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- First Grade Sight Words List
- Graduation Inspiration: Top 10 Graduation Quotes
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Smart Parenting During and After Divorce: Introducing Your Child to Your New Partner