Teaching child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Educational psychology Teaching is a great and honorable profession that requires hard work, sincerity at work, and honest at all levels of operation. It does not just present some information but, it requires one to understand how the student’s brain works, how the student think, what they need and, then, use the appropriate way to deliver the teachings required according to the child at hand. The teachings delivered to regular children are different from those delivered to children with special needs, for instance the one who may be affected by ADHD. However, teaching generally still requires special skill to make the regular child understand, learn and develop both socially, psychologically, intellectually and physically. In the world, elementary school is the first common stage of compulsory education. At this stage students develop differently and their needs from one to another differ. Among the skills that may develop is ability to absorbing new information. In reference to Oh et al. (2012, p. 1934), by the age 7 to 12 years, most children transform from preoperational stage to concrete stage based on Paget’s stages cognitive development. This means that at this stage the regular and children with special needs are ready to learn, pay attention and focus on simple tasks, and at this stage the ADHA medical conditions develop.
Children at this stage grow up from being closely tied to their families into experiencing the world through the school environment. In relation to Kats-Gold et al. (2009, p. 666), they grow both psychologically and intellectually (I.Q). Their thoughts become more constructive, logically and they became more audible in communication. Socially they move from home and family environment to their friends in their social groups. Physically, they become more active in sports and games. A child with special needs is any mentally children with special needs. They may be termed special because of their disability or medical condition. The difference between a child with special needs and a regular one may be caused by some factors such as genetic background, nutrition, exercise and sometimes the environment may also affect a child’s physical and mental ability. From this, students are brought into schools in their various differences in all areas of their lives.
A student with a special need may have cognitive or academic difficulties, social or behavior problem, delays in cognitive and social functions, and physical or sensory challenges. According to Capelatto et al. (2013, p. 339), in teaching today, almost every classroom has a number of students who have a disability cognitive, physical, emotional, visual problems, behavior or a combination of different disability. As a result, teaching a student with a disability requires knowledge about that disability, and the information resources and strategies that will help teaching the student effectively and learn successfully.
Working with student with disability can be a very challenging, unique and an exciting experience. ADHD is one of the medical conditions that make a child to be considered as a special child in school, however some children grow to out of the disorder. In relation to Capelatto et al. (2013, p. 338) ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by cognitive deficits. These children have frontal lobe abnormalities in dopamine pathways. According to Englund et al. (2014, p. 95-96), this is linked to observing cognitive deficits in working memory (WM) and executive functions. As much as this disease may be the same, the symptoms may differ from individual to individual.
Englund et al. (2014, p. 96) point out that there are three types of ADHD, namely predominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type and combination type. Predominantly inattentive ADHD is where one has no control over their behaviors while predominantly inattentive ADHD is characterized by symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity. The third type is a combination. People who have the combination type do not show predominantly one type of the symptom. According to, Englund et al. (2014, p. 98), some of the symptoms in a child is the inability to function at school and at home because of their IQ which is below normal. They lack patience in that, the child will often interrupts in class, talk excessively, ever restless and unsettled. In relation to Capelatto (2013, p. 331), the child will also have symptoms like daydreaming, is easily distracted, has a problem with organizing tasks like forgetting daily tasks, always on the move and never careful. The child may be easily distracted and have difficulties in completing started activities. According to Kats-Gold and Priel (2009 p.675), ADHD is most common in boys compared to girls.
During my free time I used to find activities that could make me busy, particularly during my holidays. In those times I used to teach my friends who were younger than me and also my relative’s kids. One of them was called Ali, my friend’s kid. It was the last winter when my friend asked me to teach her kid English. He is seven years old, which puts him in the second grade in elementary school in Egypt and the second year of learning English as a second language. Before I started tutoring Ali, his mother complained a lot about Ali being a hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive child which is basic symptoms for ADHD (Oh et al., 2012 p.1932) In addition to his behavior, she also told me of how Ali takes long time to do his homework and that he also gets low grades at school. After getting all that information I knew that the mother faces hard time training and touring him outside school.
I taught Ali two to three hours every day five days in a week. For a start I taught him letters, numbers. In my attempt I also taught him how to write and read and then some time I did teach him simple mathematical calculations. The first two weeks I started teaching Ali were the hardest weeks. At the beginning of our weekly classes we sat at the living room I gave him a white small board and some crayons. I asked him to write some letters to assess him but instead he was playing with the crayons. In theory, from the cognitive aspect, when he refused to write the letters and continued playing and drawing on the board this meant that, he easily looses focus through the same object the crayon that was supposed to make him learn and practice his studies. He was easily distracted, get bored fast even before he could complete the task given and he also does not listen to instructions, such as when I told him to use the crayon to write on the board instead of drawing.
Another observation that I noted was that when I give him instructions to follow, he faces difficulty in remembering them. Moreover, he acts without thinking or any consideration, he does guesses work more often rather than thinking of solutions. After guessing he blurts out answers without waiting to be given permission to speak even when I had not finished asking the question. From the physical extra curriculum aspect, he does not like to sit for a long time at the same place, he moves around his chair constantly, he has difficulty playing quietly when we have an activity and he cannot wait for his turn in a line or in game. With all these characteristics teaching Ali became very difficult and needed a lot of extra effort, attention and dedication. So I started to read about some of these characteristics and most information I found in relations to learning and teaching children with disabilities. I searched widely on cognitive disability and I found that Ali might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
However, I talked to Ali’s mother and explained the situation to her in relation to her child. For a long time before I came into the picture she felt that there was something wrong with her son. After I talked to her she made an appointment with a specialist doctor to examine Ali so that she could get a clearly confirmed medical report on cognitive disability. And also to get a confirmation if his son is a victim of such a disability and most importantly how to handle and take care of his thereafter in terms of educational, social, emotional and physical activities that he may engage into at home, public and social places and at school. After several visits to the clinic, the doctor told Ali’s mother that her child has ADHD.
Where a child like Ali suffers from such a disorder then the self-progress, self esteem, competences and self concept is at risk. The child begins to develop stigmatization. In reference to Bailey et al. (2009, p. 1854), the neurotransmitter system becomes defective and thereby the executive functions of such a system are derailed such as them having serious learning difficulties at school. However, it is noted that in such children their self-consumptiveness is high than in the children who are regular without such a disorder. The self-progressive concept may differ upon gender, age, ethnicity however a distinctive relationship has not been clearly out stated in record. In a global range 3 to 5 percent of the children are found with this disorder at the age of 7 years. This is evident in Ali’s case.
This disorder is linked with a basic contributing factor of a negative self-progress and self-esteem. Therefore, self-esteem and progress are both major factors in the cognitive and emotional concept. In both children, adolescent and adult the ADHD affected individual will tend to have a low-esteem progress than the regular individuals in the society. Thereby their competence is more or less affected like the self-esteem progress.
While I teach, Ali usually wants to play. He wants to take something but I refuse to give him until he finishes his task. He gets angry because that and acts violently. He tends to have poor communication skills and have trouble in conversing in social gathering (Englund et al. 2014, p.96). For instance, Ali had difficulties in understanding the roles that he was suppose to play at different times. He could not comprehend why the teacher had to tell him to write when he was interested in drawing. In reference to Kats-Gold, and Priel, (2009, p. 670- 672), such children tend to have problems with emotions and interpersonal communication. Ali acted violently when his wishes were not granted such as being allowed to go and play. They are not able to follow instructions in any forum they tend to have their own fixed minds. Ali was not able to follow instruction even playing games. According to Kats-Gold, and Priel, (2009, P. 663), the boys with ADHD also have a character of not being able to control their feelings at any point in time which causes them to react even where the issue could be handled harmoniously. During class work when I am teaching, Ali looks withdrawn and lost in thoughts.
According to Kats-Gold, and Priel, (2009, P. 660), the attention or focus of such ADHD children is very low they never have consistency in doing something and most of the time they are end up picking and activity and leaving it half way which relates to their emotional imbalance. The basic symptoms of attentions are because they cannot focus they tend not to be able to remember well because at the end of the day they did not grasp anything constructive. They tend to comprehend what they had missed by sticking to their own collection of ideas. According to Bailey et al (2009, p. 1845), ADHD children lack consistency in following, hence, they are poor in storytelling and watching television because they cannot be attentive for long. They lose concentration after a given period of time. The impact of this character is there productiveness in school. In relation to, Bailey, Lorch, Milich, and Charnigo, (2009, p. 1842), their performance is not consistent and they tend to have a curvy graph of poor performed academic results and of an extra curriculum. According to, Bailey, Lorch, Milich, and Charnigo, (2009, 1843-1844) their comprehensiveness is limited to a small span of their visual and psychological activities. Ali gets engaged in games and completely forget about the tasks assigned to him. His visual focus is poor but with it will increase. When toys are present his attention and focus is still low. Where toys are absent a small increase of concentration is seen although with a small span of time since he gets bored quickly, and eventually looses focus in the story or television program.
In reference to Oh et al. (2012, p. 1932), one of the socio emotional factors is the maternal depression that mothers face. Ali’s mother felt depressed because of his son’s condition and she did not know how to deal with the condition. A parental improved skill program is recommendable for families with such children. According to Oh et al (2012, p.1933), the parents should be trained on their attitude and self competence towards their affected children and how to treat and value them which will boast their self esteem. Ali’s mother wanted to solve his son’s condition. She, therefore, developed a habit of reading more about the condition to be able to know how to improve the situation. She needed the skills and knowledge about the condition.. Such children desire to be understood by their, parents, teachers and their social peers as they are hence there is no much difference that can be made in their life than to appreciate them and make them feel worthy. In reference to Kats-Gold amp. Priel (2009, p. 675), schools and communities should invest in programs that accommodate them and give them special training and teachings on how to handle their characters, behaviors and self esteem. In reference to, Bailey, Lorch, Milich, and Charnigo, (2009, p. 1852), stimulant medication and behavior modification are proven medical standards for productivity and attention increase to the ADHD child. Ali started taking his medications in the right way and his mother encouraged him to be positive about the situation.
In conclusion, a part from child with ADHD, an adult may never come out of the medical condition and grow up with this medical condition. Such an individual may have relationship problems, difficulties in addiction, time management, and employment and organization skills. Ali was faced with a myriad of challenges. therefore, he required special attention and dedication. Self-esteem may also be a problem and this was evident in Ali’s case. Hence when treating or taking care of such an affected individual one has to be aware of the kind of ADHD he or she is taking care of lest you misunderstand the individual and cause more damage that what was initially there.
Bailey, U. L., Lorch, E. P., Milich, R., and Charnigo, R., (2009), Developmental Changes in Attention and Comprehension Among Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Child Development, November/December, Volume 80, Number 6, Pages 1842–1855.
Capelatto, I., V., Franco de Lima, R., Ciasca, S., M., and Salgado-Azoni, C., A., (2013). Cognitive Functions, Self-Esteem and Self- Concept of Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. 331Psychology/Psicologia Reflexão e Crítica, 27(2), 331-340.
Englund, J. A. Decker, S. L., Allen, R.A. and Roberts, A. M., (2014), Common Cognitive Deficits in Children With Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism: Working Memory and Visual-Motor Integration. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. Vol. 32(2) 95–106.
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