ADHD - Special Education

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Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) evidence many obscurities in a class room environment, including difficulties in remaining seated and problems with organisational tasks. Behaviours such as these ultimately result in the impairment of the individual's ability to learn, as well as placing a burden upon their teachers. Despite numerous studies which aim to address class room behavioural interventions, it is often at times, teachers who lack the specific training and awareness of ADHD. Teacher in service guidance is routinely utilised to ensure that school professionals are aware of issues like these presented. However, the efficacy of such training for ADHD has not yet been established. (### add more to intro maybe...?)

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a childhood disorder which is characterised by a pattern of inattentiveness and/or hyperactivity and spontaneity, some symptoms of which must be present before the individual reaches the age of seven. Significant numbers of ADHD children have associated learning struggles, the most familiar of which is reading difficulties. Approximately 3 to 10 percent of school children meet the criteria for ADHD, consequently making it one of the most prevailing disorders of childhood (Breton et al., 1999; Fergusson, Horwood, & Lynskey, 1993; Wolraich, Hannah, Pinnock, & Baumgaertel, 1998). For a diagnosis of ADHD, it is necessary for symptoms to show a degree of social or academic impairment is present in one or more differing environments, usually at home and in the class room. The cross situational impairments made by parents and teachers takes into account the unconstructive interactions with parental figures (Mash & Johnston, 1983), an increase in household stress (Johnston & Mash, 2001), a decrease in academic performance (DeShazo Barry, Lyman, & Klinger, 2002), and a poor affiliation between the teacher and peers in the class room (Clark, Prior, & Kinsella 2002). Behaviours like these are chronic and typically persist onto stages of adolescence and adult hood. More often than not, there continues to be a negative impact on the lives of individuals with ADHD, as well as those people affiliated (Hechtman & Weiss, 1986).

The prevalence rate for ADHD can be seen as approximately one student per regular class room, with ADHD often being overshadowed in special education classes (Bussing, Zima, Perwein, Belin, & Widawski, 1998). There is often a significant difference in the behaviour of children with ADHD and those non-disordered individuals in the class room. For example, as educators, teachers will report the variation in behaviour of those students, who meet the criteria for ADHD and conversely, those who do not on standardised rating scales, including aspects of increased distractibility and further conduct concerns (Miller, Koplewicz, & Klein, 1997). Similarly, observational findings signify that students with ADHD have the need to intrude on the space on other's activities, are sidetracked more often during class procedures, and tend not to follow class rules (Abikoff et al., 2002; Atkings & Pelham, 1991).

The lack of concentration and hyperactive behavioural characteristics of individuals with ADHD cause impairment to difference aspects to the student's academic performance. Such behavioural problems may impact on the student's functioning in the school population (DeShazo Barry, et al., 2002; Hinshaw, 1992; Mash & Barkley, 2003; Zentall, 1993). Students with ADHD often are less organised for lessons, more unsettled in class, misread directions on given instructions, have poorer study skills, and demonstrate lower grades in comparison to students without ADHD (Evans, Axelrod, & Langberg, 2004; Hinshaw, 1992; Zentall, 1993). Behaviours of ADHD also play a part in poor communication abilities and social competence as observed in individuals with the disorder that then influence peer interaction (Clark et al., 2002). Without amazement, individuals with ADHD demonstrate to favour less challenging and difficult work and report lower self expectations (Carlson, Booth, Shin, & Canu, 2002; Hoze et al., 2001). Finally, it is more probable to expect students with ADHD to have co-occurring learning difficulties, unpredictable grades, drop out of school, as well as facing expulsion (Barkley et al., 1990; Faraone, Beiderman, Lehman, & Spencer, 1993).

Teachers do not receive adequate directions about ADHD or how to efficiently handle symptoms of the disorder. Understanding of ADHD for both special and ordinary class room teachers is essential as many individuals with ADHD are in regular classes as opposed to isolated special ed. classes (Reid et al., 1994). Up to 45 percent of students whom of which are in special education classes meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD (Bussing et al., 1998). However in saying so, the greater parts of students with ADHD receive special education services internally from their regular class rooms (Reid et al., 1994). And hence, treatments need to be implemented in all environments in which the individual is impaired, including within the class room. In effect, Pelham, Wheeler, and Chronis (1998) found greater discrepancies for behavioural changes are normally established in surroundings that are directly targeted by behaviour management. Class room behavioural interventions have been reported as an ‘entrenched treatment' for students with ADHD (Pelham et al,. 1998). In these circumstances, teachers are views as agents by which treatment is passed via consultation with other behavioural professions.

In classroom interventions, teachers are trained to apply practical behavioural analyse to help recognise target behaviours, antecedents, and consequences. As more time will usually be allocated to respond to negative behaviour, rather than to the positive (Brophy, 1996; Martens & Meller, 1990, however, arguably to be a disadvantage is that the assessment of the behavioural management system with teachers is that is calls for the use of direct rewards or punishment as a result of the misbehaviour. Minor actions of misbehaviour may be forgiven by the teacher, to an extent. Arguably, a possible disadvantage of this action may result in other members of the class in feeling a sense a bias if the teacher seems to favour a particular student. A possible suggestion is increasing the structure of the task by using suitable direct commands to address the class. Both of these approaches assist to increase wanted behaviour and decrease the occurrences of misbehaviour (Abramowitz, Eeckstrand, o'Leary, & Dulcan, 1992; Rosen, O' Leary, Joyce, Conway, & Pfiffner, 1984; Zentall, 1989). Hence, educating teachers to apply behavioural skills in a functional behavioural analysis framework could be advantageous. Meta analysis of interventions at a school based level for individuals with ADHD by the study by DuPaul and Eckert (1997) signifies that management programs for behaviour are effective and have a large effect size of approximately 1.43.