Characteristics Of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Psychology Essay

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John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau 17th and 18th century who are considered as the founding fathers of the psychology of children sated that a child is like a blank slate and parent and teachers play vital role in shaping their personality. It depends on child home and school environment how they are going to perform. Although genes play their own vital role but we cannot neglect environmental effects and similarly nature and nurture of both; parents and teachers has great contribution in the personality of the child.

Many environmental factors having strong links to the development of ADHD are ones that occur early in development supporting the idea ADHD is a neurodevelopment condition (Banjeree et al., 2007). Nongenetic familial factors are powerful and difficult to measure and include the effects of culture, religion, learning, parenting, and socioeconomic adversity (Bussing, Gary, Mills, & Garvan, 2007; Furman, 2008), which is often confused in research with genetics when environment is plausible.

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown and people from all over the world have controversial and far-ranging opinions on the topic. Teachers and professionals overwhelmingly believe brain functions such as chemical imbalance, the way the brain functions, and genetic disposition are causal factors over any other causes (Dryer, Kierman, & Graham, 2006). In a 2006 study by Dryer, Kierman, and Graham, they found some professionals, teachers, parents with children diagnosed with ADHD and an overwhelming number of parents of children without ADHD believe difficulties at home, school environment, and psychological problems cause ADHD. Regardless of the cause, it is evident that students with ADHD need instructional strategies and behavioral interventions that allow for efficient learning experiences within the classroom; which can be generalized into the real world throughout their lives.

ADHD is more common in families in which there is a considerable amount of hostility in both mother-father and parent-child relationships (DuPaul, McGoey, Eckert, & VanBrakle, 2001). Children with ADHD also come from over-stimulating, anxious, and intrusive mothers as well as single household families (Banks, Ninowski, Mash, & Semple, 2008). These children are more likely to originate from families with low socioeconomic status (Houck, Kendall, Miller, Morrell, & Wiebe, 2011).

A major goal for the neuroscience research in ADHD is the understanding of its causes which can lead to the development of new and more effective treatments (Konrad & Eickhoff, 2010). Another goal is to demonstrate how the causes produce symptoms unique to an individual; supporting more often than not, that the symptomatology of an individual is the result of interplay between an individual's genes and his or her environment (Banerjeree et al., 2007).

Children with ADHD live in families with a host of problems that both impact and are impacted by the child. Relative to comparison groups, parents of children with ADHD report more frequent and severe inter-parental discord and child-rearing disagreements, more negative parenting practices, greater parenting stress and caregiver strain, and more psychopathology themselves (Johnston & Mash, 2001).

Children diagnosed with ADHD often also experience interpersonal problems with family members, teachers and peers. Their behavior can be unpredictable, hostile and confrontational and it seems they do not learn from their past mistakes (Mash & Wolfe, 2005; DuPaul & Stoner, 2003). They show a great variability in their symptom severity and performance in different situations and across tasks (Mash & Wolfe, 2005; Barkley, 1998).

Teachers have to cope with more learners in their classes and with more learners with diverse needs, such as those who have ADHD. To be able to put inclusive education into practice a teacher needs to accommodate and recognize the unique diversities of the children in class. To do this effectively the teacher needs to be fully informed about these diversities (Decaires-Wagner & Picton, 2009). In creating welcoming and accommodating classrooms for all learners, it is important for teachers to organise their environments according to the diversity of needs of the learners in the class. Therefore the knowledge teachers have about ADHD may also influence how they communicate with and teach children diagnosed with ADHD. Having a better understanding may prevent them from developing negative views of these learners or labelling them (Holz & Lessing, 2002). Understanding ADHD will thus enable teachers to change their classroom management, to adapt the curriculum, to have realistic expectations and to use a variety of teaching strategies in order to create a positive learning environment that are conducive to the academic, social and emotional success of learners diagnosed with ADHD (Zentall, 2006; DuPaul & Stoner, 2003; Holz & Lessing, 2002). Collaborating with and advising parents and other role players effectively also demand extensive knowledge on the teacher's part (Louw, 2009a; DiBattista & Shepherd, in Kos, Richdale & Jackson, 2004).

A person without knowledge may be cautious and seek information, but a person who holds an incorrect view may not seek additional information and may recommend misplaced advice (DiBattista & Shepherd, in Sciutto et al., 2000). In Indian education system at university Bachelors and Masters Level in Education which gives B.Ed. or M.Ed. degree which is thought to be sufficient to qualify as a school teacher, there is only one subjects related psychology at introductory level but it never explains what type of disorder are found in children and what are their symptoms. According Indian cultural influences most of the teachers and parents believe in physical punishment and beating. Many teachers as well as parents understand discipline as synonymous of giving physical punishment.

But what is the situation in India with regard to teachers' knowledge and perceptions about ADHD? It is important to assess the accuracy of teachers' knowledge of ADHD, as well as the possible misperceptions they harbour, in order to help and support children diagnosed with ADHD in the best possible way. The findings of a study in India could be compared to those of the studies done in other countries. In this way the generalis ability of the research results could be strengthened and the consequent interventions effected in other countries could be taken into account when making recommendations for South Africa. Multiple studies have been done on all the different aspects of this disorder, but very few have examined teachers' knowledge and perceptions of ADHD. One Australian study and two North American studies were identified (Kos et al., 2004; Sciutto et al., 2000; Jerome, Gordon & Hustler, 1994). These studies showed that the teachers that participated had an average to good general knowledge of ADHD, that few teachers had any training in ADHD and that teachers' overall knowledge improved as a result of teaching a child with ADHD. There has not yet been a study that provides data regarding teachers' knowledge and misperceptions of ADHD in India.

A relatively well-established finding in the recent child psycho- pathology literature is that many children with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report "positive illusory" self- perceptions-self-perceptions that are positively biased relative to external criteria for evaluating competence. The self-protective explanation suggests that children with ADHD bolster their self-views in areas of uncertain or deficient competence, in order to make chronic failure or uncertainty about their abilities less threatening (Diener & Milich, 1997). Viewed in this manner, positively biased self-views may be considered a coping strategy that allows children to face daily challenges without suffering high levels of distress or depression regarding their difficulties. Similarly, reductions in positively biased self-perceptions over a 2- to 3-year period in children with ADHD were related both to increased symptoms of depression and to greater levels of depressive attributions (McQuade, Hoza, et al., 2011). Taken together, these results suggest that positively biased self-perceptions may serve a self-protective role, buffering children with ADHD from depressive symptoms and other depressive cognitions.


The term self-concept is a general term used to refer to how someone thinks about or perceives themselves.

The self-concept is how we think about and evaluate ourselves. To be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself.

Baumeister (1999) provides the following self-concept definition: ""the individual's belief about himself or herself, including the person's attributes and who and what the self is"".

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Academic Self-Concept

Academic Self-Concept (ASC) refers to the personal beliefs someone develops about their academic abilities or skills.[19] A person's ASC develops and evolves as they age. Research by Tiedemann (2000) suggests that ASC begins developing in early childhood, from age 3 to 5, due to parental /family and early educators' influences.[16] Other research contends that ASC does not develop until age 7 or 8 when children begin evaluating their own academic abilities based on the feedback they receive from parents, teachers and their peers.[17] According to Rubie-Davis (2006), by age 10 or 11 children view their academic abilities by comparing themselves to their peers.[31]

Due to the variety of social factors that influence one's ASC, developing a positive ASC has been related to people's behaviours and emotions in other domains of their life, influencing one's happiness, self-esteem, and anxiety levels to name a few.[18] Due to the significant impact ASC has on a person's life, fostering positive self-concept development in children should be an important goal of any educational system.[18]

These research findings are important because they have practical implications for parents and teachers. Research by Craven et al. (1991) indicates that parents and teachers need to provide children with specific feedback that focuses on their particular skills or expressed abilities in order to increase ASC.[32] Other research suggests that learning opportunities should be conducted in a variety of mixed-ability and like-ability groupings that down-play social comparison because too much of either type of grouping can have adverse effects on children's ASC in the way they view themselves in relation to their peers.

Characteristics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The characteristics exhibited by someone with ADHD are believed to be the result of an interaction between environment and neurological factors (Banerjeree et al., 2007; Thapar & Lewis, 2009). The characterized indicators are present in everyone to some degree; however, someone showing the core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, can contribute to significant functional problems (APA, 2000). The incidences of secondary eccentricities in psychological functioning and diminished executive functions (Daley & Birchwood, 2009) occur more often than not.

Inattention. Contrary to common thought, it is not that children with ADHD do not attend to things, but rather these children attend to too much. The mind of a student with ADHD attends to all stimuli, whereas the mind of a child without ADHD is able to block out the extraneous stimuli and focus on the main stimulus. This leaves a student with ADHD without the

ability to filter irrelevant stimuli which interfere with task completion that draws their attention away from the main stimuli (Oberlin, Alford, & Marrocco, 2005). So it may appear students with ADHD are focused on tasks, but, in fact, they are distracted by one of the other stimuli and have lost contact with the main stimulus, therefore failing to finish the task (Bulut, 2007). They fail to give attention to details, do not follow through, avoid difficult situations, forgetful, and often lose things (APA, 2000). Children who appear to not be listening probably experience hyperfocus. Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, a psychologist in Maryland, describes ―children (who hyperfocus) aren't being disobedient. Their brains just aren't registering what you're saying, ―it's almost like pulling someone out of a dreamâ€- (Flippin, 2005, p. 33). Children with inattentive characteristics are more prone to academic difficulties (Daley & Birchwood, 2009).

Hyperactivity. Hyperactivity is a very visual and noticeable symptom portrayed as fidgeting, running or climbing in inappropriate situations, and difficulty engaging in activities quietly. These children are often described as being continuously in motion, driven like a motor, with constant movement, becoming bored and needing more stimulation (APA, 2000). By the time the child is in a structured classroom, hyperactive behavior is perceived as problematic and often cannot be ignored (Atkins & Pelham, 1991) yet research does not support academic difficulties (Daley & Birchwood, 2009). In fact, a study from the University of Central Florida, found that children with ADHD move around a lot because it helps them stay alert enough to complete challenging tasks (Rapport, Kofler, Alderson, Timko, & DuPaul, 2009).

Impulsivity. Impulsivity is characterized by students exhibiting a general lack of self- control, an inability to inhibit behavior, and a tendency to act on an urge. Individuals with ADHD may be aware of what is right or wrong and may be able to cite the rules of the classroom, however they often think about their actions after the fact, when it is too late (Bulut,2007). They act without reflection or consideration of the consequences. They are accident prone, cannot wait patiently, rush to blurt answers, and appear intrusive (APA, 2000).

Psychological functioning. A child may exhibit deficits in adaptive functioning, which are skills necessary to take care of oneself, get along with others, and participate in everyday life (Harrison & Raineri, 2008). Students could have social impairments (DuPaul & Weyandt, 2006), delayed development of internal language, low self-esteem, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulties regulating emotion, motivation, arousal, low self-esteem (Mercugliano, Power, & Blum, 1999), as well as, diminished ability to problem-solve, ingenuity and flexibility in pursuing long-term goals (Barkley & Murphy, 2006; Tannock, 1998). Children with deficits in psychological functioning express more cognitive impairments, delays in motor and language development, negativity and emotion in interpersonal relationships. Terms like ―irritableâ€-, ―hostileâ€- and ―excitableâ€- are often used to describe children with ADHD (Barkley & Murphy, 2006). An often frustrating characteristic is their greater than normal variability in work performance (Bruce, Thernlund & Nettelbladt, 2006).

Executive functions. Executive function is an umbrella term used to encompass the complex cognitive processes that serve ongoing, goal-directed behaviors. Elements include: working memory (Tannock, 1998), goal setting, planning, response inhibition, flexibility, self- regulation, and organization of thoughts, time, and space (Barkley, 1997). Neuro-imaging studies have shown a decreased size of the prefrontal cortex in children with ADHD (Cutting et al., 2002). As this is the location for ―executive functions,â€- it can be assumed students with ADHD can have difficulties in their ability to employ them (Barkley, 1997; Tannock, 1998); and could be at the heart of academic underperformance (Daley & Birchwood, 2009).

Characteristics of ADHD usually become apparent when a child starts school due to the difficulty adapting within a new and structured environment (Hughes, 2007) requiring behaviors that are contrary to the core symptoms; inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This may exacerbate symptoms through the expectation to participate in organized activities, follow specific rules, and socialize with other children (Kos, Richdale, & Hay, 2006).

According to Dryer, Kierman, and Graham (2006), teachers along with other major professionals responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD found the top five characteristics to be concentration problems, ability to be easily distracted, short attention span, difficulty finishing tasks, and impulsivity. A DSM-IV diagnosis focuses on behavioral problems within the domains of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity which only address behavior control and concentration/attention problems (APA, 2000). The diagnostic criteria do not explain or characterize the cognitive impairments commonly experienced by individuals with ADHD (Barkley, 1997) and these are the characteristics found to interfere with learning and academic achievement (DuPaul et al., 2004).
Prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

In 1980, the American Psychological Association (APA) officially recognized and introduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to the world in the 3rd edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) with the addition of the inattentive portion in the 1987 revision. Originally, ADHD was widely considered to be an American disorder. Not until 22 years later, in 2002, an International Consensus Statement on ADHD officially stated all major medical associations and government agencies recognized it as a universal disorder due to the overwhelming scientific evidence (Barkley et al., 2002).


Characteristics of ADHD have been documented numerous times throughout the last 200 years from all over the world. A Scottish doctor, Sir Alex Crichton, in 1798, used the phrase ―mental restlessnessâ€- to describe what today is known as the inattentive subtype of ADHD. Later in 1845, a German, Dr. Heinrich Hoffman, described the hyperactive/impulsive subtype in a children's poetry book, ―The Story of Fidgety Philipâ€-; depicting a restless, wild, misbehaving child whose parents want him to act like a gentleman. By the turn of the century in Britain, Sir George Still, gave three lectures in 1902 on ―Morbid Defect of Moral Controlâ€- describing a group of impulsive children with significant behavior problems, suggesting a genetic disorder not poor parenting (Still, 2006). Since then, the definitions and terminology have been refined and improved across the history of the disorder. Table 1 shows the evolution of ADHD during the 20th century in the United States.
Table 1
Evolution of ADHD During the 20th Century

1922 Named ―Post-Encephalitic Behaviorâ€-

1937 Dr. Charles Bradley implements the use of amphetamines for hyperactivity symptoms

1940 Name changed to ―Minimal Brain Damageâ€-

1956 Ritalin is introduced as a treatment option for ―"hyperactive" children

1960 Name changed again to ―Minimal Brain Dysfunctionâ€-

1968 Clinically termed in the DSM-II as Hyperkinetic Reaction to Childhood

1980 Becomes an official disorder by the National Institute of Mental Health

1980 DSM-III coins the term Attention Deficit Disorder +/- Hyperactivity

1987 DSM-III-R adds the criteria for the inattentive portion of ADHD

1994 DSM-IV officially replaces ADD with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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1998 AMA stated ADHD ―"one of the best-researched disorders in medicine"

2000 DSM-IV-TR provides the current diagnostic criteria

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Rates. According to the APA and the AAP (2000), the national prevalence of school- aged children with ADHD is between 3-5%; however, after pulling data from the following reports; Bloom and Cohen (2007), Bloom, Cohen and Freeman (2009a), Bloom, Cohen and Freeman (2009b), and Bloom, Dey, and Freeman (2006), a new percentage emerges. Figure 1 shows the national prevalence rates from 2005 - 2010.

Stаtеmеnt of thе Problеm

Prior to the study, it was little know how in an average B-class city in India like Lucknow in Utter Pradesh, the family environment, school environment and children's own self-concept influences them to exhibit ADHD/ADD like symptom . Specially in small cities in India this kind of issues are either ignored or dealt with careless way taking reference of mythological ideologies or upon own discrete decision of parents or teachers.

Purpose of the study

According to the culture and social norms in most of the Indian society giving reply when elders; the parents and the teachers, are scolding is seen as offensive and not giving respect. Children must not speak against elders even if they feel elders are reporting particular incident by exaggerating or in a wrong manner. Teachers are said to be positioned higher than God according to Sanskrit language sloka:

"Guru govind dono kade ka-kae lagu paye, balhari guru aap ki govind deyo bataiey"

And most of the students at any age group touch teachers' feet to get their blessings. A student in the school environment and a child in home environment never get same independent space to speak for themselves, which could highly impact their self-concept emotionally and on their academic self-understanding.

Questions Guiding the Study

How wrong parenting skill influences a child to exhibit ADHD/ADD like symptoms?

How wrong cultural believes of discipline a child influences a child to exhibit ADHD/ADD like symptoms?

How teachers minimal knowledge in psychological disorder among children affect their diagnosis and daily dealing with ADHD/ADD affect student?

How child perceive their self-concept and how they cope with their bad academic results.

this study elucidates the current state of family and school environment and self-concept among children at primary school level of education in a average B-class city in India. This study examins the impact of family and school environment and self-concept building up within childeren psyce and how much it resembles to ADHD/ADD symptoms.

Significance of the study

Unfortunately the interest in and the research focus on this new interpretation of ADHD has turned out to be a double-edged sword, as Rubia and Smith (2001) have pointed out. They have identified a neglect of research on the causes and management of psycho- social problems due to the current focus on biologic-genetic model of ADHD, which has explored the effects of medication while at the same time neglecting possible environmental problems and management of the condition. This current study is the first of a wider series aiming to redress this shortfall.

Tis research explores what is the situation in India with regard to teachers'and parents' knowledge about ADHD and how to deal with their student/child in daily life? It is important to assess the accuracy of teachers' knowledge of ADHD, as well as the possible misperceptions they harbour, in order to help and support children diagnosed with ADHD in the best possible way. The findings of a study in India could be compared to those of the studies done in other countries. In this way the generalis ability of the research results could be strengthened and the consequent interventions effected in other countries could be taken into account when making recommendations for India. Multiple studies have been done on all the different aspects of this disorder, but very few have examined teachers' knowledge and their daily dealing of ADHD student. One Australian study and two North American studies were identified (Kos et al., 2004; Sciutto et al., 2000; Jerome, Gordon & Hustler, 1994). These studies showed that the teachers that participated had an average to good general knowledge of ADHD, that few teachers had any training in ADHD and that teachers' overall knowledge improved as a result of teaching a child with ADHD. There has not yet been a study that provides data regarding teachers' knowledge and their daily dealing of ADHD student in India.

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ADHD/ ADD: Attention dеfÑ-cÑ-t hypеrаctÑ-vÑ-ty disorder (ADHD) is а dеvеlopmеntаl disorder. It is chаrаctеrÑ-zеd prÑ-mаrÑ-ly by "thе co-еxÑ-stеncе of аttеntÑ-onаl problems and hypеrаctÑ-vÑ-ty, with еаch bеhаvÑ-or occurring Ñ-nfrеquеntly аlonе" and symptoms starting before sеvеn yеаrs of аgе

Home Environment: Children are motÑ-vаtеd to work on аctÑ-vÑ-tÑ-еs and lеаrn nеw Ñ-nformаtÑ-on and skÑ-lls whеn thеÑ-r еnvÑ-ronmеnts are rÑ-ch Ñ-n Ñ-ntеrеstÑ-ng аctÑ-vÑ-tÑ-еs thаt аrousе thеÑ-r curÑ-osÑ-ty and offеr modеrаtе chаllеngеs. Thе sаmе cаn bе sаÑ-d аbout thе homе еnvÑ-ronmеnt. 

School Environment: ProvÑ-dеs trаÑ-nÑ-ng, rеsourcеs, and tеchnÑ-cаl аssÑ-stаncе Ñ-n thе еstаblÑ-shmеnt of а school/communÑ-ty еnvÑ-ronmеnt thаt is physÑ-cаlly and еmotÑ-onаlly sаfе, wеll dÑ-scÑ-plÑ-nеd, and conducÑ-vе to lеаrnÑ-ng

Sеlf Concеpt: Sеlf-concеpt (аlso cаllеd sеlf-constructÑ-on, sеlf-Ñ-dеntÑ-ty or sеlf-pеrspеctÑ-vе) is а multÑ--dÑ-mеnsÑ-onаl construct thаt rеfеrs to аn Ñ-ndÑ-vÑ-duаl's pеrcеptÑ-on of "sеlf" Ñ-n rеlаtÑ-on to аny numbеr of chаrаctеrÑ-stÑ-cs, such аs аcаdеmÑ-cs (and nonаcаdеmÑ-cs), gеndеr rolеs and sеxuаlÑ-ty, rаcÑ-аl Ñ-dеntÑ-ty, and mаny othеrs.



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