Introduction to Special Education
o Even though the scientific term is ADHD there are some that refers to it as ADD with the different subtypes.
o ADHD predominantly inattentiveness is still known by many people as ADD, even though that is not the right term.
o In places where ADHD is mentioned alone in the paper, the research is about ADHD as a whole.
Most of us have heard of the term Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder, better know as ADHD. Many of us have also had dealings with ADHD. However, did you know that there are six subtypes of this condition? The most common type of ADHD is ADHD hyperactive and inattentiveness or ADHD combined, which most people know as just ADHD. However, scientifically just ADHD is not the right term anymore.There is also ADHD predominantly hyperactive.Then there is the term, ADHD predominantly inattentiveness which most people know as ADD. These three most common subtypes of ADHD do overlap but there are distinct differences, and I am going to focus my research on ADHD predominantly inattentiveness, because it is less common than the other two conditions, and it is harder to detect.
Characteristics of ADHD Predominantly Inattentiveness and How It Can Affect the Students Learning
A parent is worried about her child; a teacher is worried about his student. Why are they worried? Is the child a troublemaker at school? Is the child a troublemaker at home? No. Then what is the problem? The child has failing grades in school. The child doesnt qualify for Special Education for one reason or another. Tutoring is not helping. The child just isnt getting it! He/she likes to daydream. Why, she seems intelligent enough? What could be wrong? Could it be that the child has ADHD predominantly inattentiveness? ADHD predominantly inattentiveness has been recognized as a disorder since 1944 (Solanto p. 1).Well, what are the characteristics we should look for in a child who is thought to possibly ADHD Predominantly Inattentiveness?
There are several characteristics that parents should look for. They are listed below.
o These children might fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork, or other activities.
o They have difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or leisure activities.
o They do not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
o They do not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork or chores.
o They have difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
o They avoid, dislike, or are reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.
o They can lose things necessary for tasks or activities.
o They are easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
o They are forgetful in daily activities (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-How its diagnosed, p. 1).
According to my research, there are many characteristics that parents and educators should look for to assume that their child or student might have ADHD predominantly inattentiveness. However, these characteristics are not set in stone. If a child hasnt been portraying these characteristics before age seven, then most likely there is another problem going on. Some of these problems might be more serious like schizophrenia, or there might be problems at home, or with friends. It could be confused with internalized and over focused behaviors seen in children with a compulsive or pervasive developmental disorder. It might be because the child has a learning or language disorder. Maybe, for many reasons, the child is depressed or anxious and cannot concentrate. (Baldwin 1 2).As can be seen here, there could be a number of things causing the trouble. The only way that a parent or educator can be sure if a child has this disorder is to have him/her checked out by a health professional.
How is ADHD Predominantly Inattentiveness Diagnosed
and What Causes ADHD
To diagnose a student with ADHD, the professional has to look at how long the child has been portraying at least six of the nine characteristics listed in the last section. These characteristics have to at least have been present for six months to a degree that is a problem and inconsistent with their developmental level (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-How its diagnosed, p. 1). Not only do these characteristics have to be going on for at least six months for a child to be diagnosed as having ADHD predominantly inattentiveness, they also have to fit criteria that needs to fit all of the subtypes of ADHD to be diagnosed correctly. These four characteristics are listed below.
o They need to be present before the age of seven years old.
o They need to be present in two or more settings, such as at school and at home.
o There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
o The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a developmental disorder, a mental illness like schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder, and are not better accounted for by another disorder (for example: mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder or a personality disorder). (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-How its diagnosed, p. 1).
However, needing to be present before the age of seven years old, can be very tricky, especially for those kids with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness. In many situations this disorder may not be recognized in the early grades (Baldwin, p. 2). In fact, there is only 25% at most of children with ADHD predominantly seen at mental health centers. One likely reason is that, since they are quieter and far less disruptive than other children with ADHD, they are less likely to create headaches for teachers or parents, and thus more likely to be overlooked (Solanto, p. 3) and therefore not correctly diagnosed. So in other words, a child may be very intelligent and can get by without really paying a lot of attention. Without paying attention though, eventually the child is going to get behind in his/her studies. Therefore, many symptoms of children with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness does not become apparent until age 9, and that impairment may not become significant until age 11 (Solanto 3). When this happens, the disorder may be finally recognized, but diagnosed as something different.
In order to be sure that any child is getting what he/she needs from the education system, parents need to pay close attention to their child, and educators need to pay close attention to their students. This is especially true when helping health professionals diagnose ADHD predominantly inattentiveness. Remember, inconsistency of early academic performance is the key to early detection of simple or isolated ADHD predominantly inattentiveness. Generally speaking, when a child performs well in all phases of academics some of the time, but struggles the rest of the time, ADHD predominantly inattentiveness should be a diagnostic consideration for all parents and teachers, and present their case to the health professionals. (Baldwin, P. 3).
One thing parents need to remember though, is that ADHD is not a cold. It is not the flu; it is not something that can be diagnosed with just a blood test.In fact, there is no single test, and a diagnosis can only be made after a range of information is collected, especially from the parents (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-How its diagnosed, p. 1). Parents and health professionals must be careful though, because since there is no absolute test for ADHD, the risk for over diagnosis does exist (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: General Information. pg 1). In other words, Each and every condition that has symptoms similar with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness should be considered and ruled out. So too, should environmental, familial, health, behavioral, and other risk factors, be inventoried and evaluated for potential problems that could alter attention (Baldwin p. 2).
So, in other words, it is the parent that ultimately diagnoses the child. Parent need to tell the health professional everything they know about their child, so the health professional can correctly diagnose it. However, a parent does not need to over state the symptoms because of fear. Today, we have so many children that do not need to be diagnosed with this disorder, but are. A wrong diagnosis can hurt the child rather than help it. In the same way though, a parent does not need to understate the problem, or ignore the problem. If the child has ADHD, any type, the parent is only hurting the child if they ignore it.
This is especially true if the child can focus or pay attention at times. There are some situations in which children with ADHD can sustain their attention. Examples of such situations include: watching television, playing with a video game, or a computer, in a quiet room with an adult, one-on-one situations, in the presence of an adult male, engaging in tasks that are novel or interesting or in a highly structured classroom with a low number of students (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: General Information p. 1).Just because a student with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness can focus at these times, parents and educators alike do not need to start thinking that the child does not have ADHD..
No parent, special education teacher, or health professional knows what really causes ADHD (any type). However there are some things that might cause ADHD. They are listed below.
o Neurophysiology including difference in brain anatomy, electrical activity and metabolism.
o Genetics some research suggests possible gene mutations may be present.
o Drugs drug use (nicotine and cocaine) by the mother during pregnancy.
o Lead chronic exposure to low levels of lead may influence behavior and brain chemistry.
o Lack of early attachment if a baby does not bond with a parent or caregiver, or has traumatic experiences related to the attachment, it can contribute to inattention and hyperactivity.
o Childhood post traumatic stress disorder this may be present with features of ADHD, yet require different treatment (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-How its diagnosed, p. 2).
According to the research, it seems some causes of ADHD may be the parents fault. If this is the case then parents can do things to prevent ADHD like not take drugs while she is pregnant and both parents should try to bond with their child. In my early experiences of working with education, sometimes I would think, Why does a child do the things he does, or not do his work, and just sit there, etc. A teacher might tell me what the childs home life is like, and tell me what the child had gone through in his or her past. I have also met parents and said to myself, Well there really is no wonder that the child is the way he or she is.
However, most of the time ADHD predominantly inattentiveness is no ones fault.In other words, parents do not need to feel guilty or feel ashamed that their child has this disorder. They must remember that ADHD is not their child, but that their child has ADHD. With the right medication and other services, the child can be almost like any other. So what can health professionals do to help children diagnosed with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness focus or pay attention? I will discuss in the next subtopic.
Teachers and parents need to remember that ADHD can be very hard to identify and it may take some time before it is diagnosed. Parents and teachers need to be patient and give the child a lot of emotional and loving support until the cause of the problem is found (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: General Information p. 4).
Medicines and Other Health Services that Can Be Utilized for Students with ADHD Predominantly Inattentiveness
It really pays for teachers for teachers and parents to get their child diagnosed early if they feel there is a problem. Early intervention and treatment of ADD can be very rewarding as there are behavioral and educational strategies as well as medications that, when used appropriately, can prevent the problems seen in chronic school failure often associated with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness (Baldwin p. 3).
As most of us know, most children with ADHD are put on medicine. It usually makes no difference what sub type they fit into. However, is medicine right for a child with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness?Research has found that some children with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness either does not respond at all to stimulants such as Ritalin, or they respond best to a lower dose. Medication is effective for 54% of children with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness. They are more likely to respond positively with lower dosages than with high dosages. So usefulness of medication should be based on the individual childs responses, not on subtype (Wheeler and Carlson p. 6).
Some parents are afraid of putting their child on medicine for fear that they will get addicted to drugs. One thing about Ritalin and other stimulant medication used for ADHD, are that its very safe and non addictive. Regarding ADHD predominantly inattentiveness, these stimulants wont cure the subtype of ADHD or any other subtype, but they will treat the symptoms. Stimulants can increase attention span, concentration, and compliance. This medicine can improve handwriting and fine motor skills, and allow improved peer relationships (Harris, p. 1 -2).
There is also counseling available which most schools and parents dont implement in their schedules.In fact, every student that is diagnosed with any subtype of ADHD should have counseling. Counseling can help in changing behaviors. It can help a child to learn to focus on whatever situation they are in.
Baldwin says that Once ADHD predominantly inattentiveness has been diagnosed and properly treated, the erratic learning style will be corrected and the child with the disorder should progress at or near ability, especially before academically imposed stressors come into play (p. 2).
I think all students with ADHD should have some form of counseling to help them to focus more. Medicine may or may not be appropriate for the child. It depends on the individual. So whichever treatment is decided with this disorder, parents and teachers should make sure it is implemented.
Social Skills of Students with ADHD Predominantly Inattentiveness
Childrens social skills are almost as important as their education. Unfortunately though, most children with ADHD do not have good social skills. Unlike children with ADHD predominantly combined or predominantly hyperactive, Children with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness are socially withdrawn. They may suffer from deficits in both social performance and knowledge. This means that they dont know what to do in social situations, thus they cannot use this knowledge appropriately. Anxiety may prevent a child with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness from participating in enough social interactions to learn of the game. In cases like this, social skills training would be useful for the children in question (Wheeler and Carlson, p. 4). Medicine, if appropriate for the child, will also help the child in his social realm.
What Can Teachers and Other Educators Do To Help the Child with ADHD Predominantly Inattentiveness to Focus
So a teacher finds out that one of his/her students has ADHD. They might be thinking, This cant be right. He or she is one of the best-behaved kids in the class. True, he/she might have problems with their schoolwork. Most of the time, it may be just because he/she refuse to listen, or at least that is what it seems to the teacher. The teacher may say something like, When he/she should be working on an arithmetic problem sheet, he seem to be just gazing into space. When called upon in class, he/she doesnt have any idea what the discussion is about (Solanto p. 3). Other than that though, they really dont give me any problems with behavior, so how can he/she be ADHD. Then the parent tells the teacher that the condition is called ADHD predominantly inattentiveness. That teacher might have never heard of that. What can he or she do to help that child focus or pay attention more?
In situations like this, the teacher or educator may think the child is a lazy or an unmotivated student who is a persistent underachiever. Most educators wouldnt think that this child had ADHD. Well, these children often escape the attention of teachers and physicians until they are teenagers, when academic tasks become overwhelming.Completing their classroom assignments is difficult. Homework is often an ordeal for both student and parent, and completed assignments often disappear between home and school. Usually these youngsters are disorganized and forgetful. They may develop a reputation as a daydreamer or space cadet (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: General Information p. 1).
I know that there are some situations in which the child truly does not care if they get the job done, or they are lazy. If they get an A that is fine, if they get a F, hey, so what. However, there are many children who do care, but just cannot stay focused enough to get their work done or other activities completed. These students may be mislabeled as slow learners often on the basis of group-administered tests-which they were also not able to concentrate on. Even more often, they just quietly underachieve, with no one fully aware of their true potential Solanto p. 3).However, there is no reason for a child with ADHD predominantly to fall behind, as long as the teachers and parents do things to help him/she stay focused. It may take a little more time to find out the childs potential, but isnt any child worth the time?I believe they are. So what can we do as educators to help our students focus? I am going to answer this, by giving some research on the topic and relying with my own personal experience.
Teachers can help their students with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness by using antecedents-based strategies. These are events, stimuli, objects, and activities that precede and trigger behaviors (Duhaney, p. 270). By observing, I know how one teacher implements antecedents-based strategies in her classroom. She tries her best to make her lessons original in order to work with the student who has ADHD predominantly inattentiveness, and furthermore helping the other students stay more focused. In this sense she is organizing her classroom to promote attention. She is working on the premises that the more original, interesting, and dynamic teachers are in presenting the subject matter, the less likely it is that students with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness, or any student for that matter, will drift off into their own worlds.
Because these students are attracted to environmental conditions that are novel, unfamiliar, or unexpected, classroom events may trigger attention. With this in mind, teachers can gradually introduce new routines, activities, and stimuli. Teachers may also examine their classrooms to determine whether the furniture and classroom structures promote easy transition to a variety of instructional approaches (Duhaney p. 270).However, before a teacher makes these changes in their classrooms, they need to warn the students.
Another thing she does is use proximity control. She is close enough so the student can sense her presence. He is now used to her being around, and it is harder for him to do his classroom work with someone unfamiliar when she is out. She also gives this student the same type of assignment with less work. She gives him more time to do the assignment. She allows him to sit near students who are good role models and are quiet children. She has him sit with his back to the door, windows or high traffic areas so it wont distract him. Sometimes she teams him with a buddy, whom he can ask for help if he needs it.She lets her assistant, when she is in the classroom, work with him, and help him to understand the assignment. As long as the teacher is in the room, he is fine with the assistant helping him.
She also attends to scheduling. She helps all her student make a personal schedule. Most students use schedules to keep up with the many activities, but for children with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness, schedules are difficult. Teachers can help these students become more productive by developing a personal schedule charting their daily lives. She helps her student identify specific goals to be accomplished. She allots time for various activities including studies, leisure time, and personal responsibilities. She helps him to be aware of his attention span when planning study periods. Finally, she arranges school tasks based on due dates, importance of task, and time periods (Duhaney p. 272). She gives him his own notebooks to note these assignments, and she checks it everyday to make sure that he has it down correctly.
Before he was diagnosed, he was failing every subject. He was put in tutoring, and I was his tutor.As long as no one else was in there, I could explain the assignment and he could do it with hardly any problems at all, however, if someone came in the room, he became distracted and was unable to get back on focus. When in the classroom though, it seemed he couldnt do it again, until his teacher erased the wrong ones, kept him in, and had him redo the problems. Surprisingly to us he got everyone of them right.Now with medication he is doing so much better. She still gives him less to do and more time to do the work, and gives him extra help with an assistant. She even started to implement these things before he started on his medication. These implementations have helped him start succeeding even without his medication. So this educator shows how a teacher can just put herself out a little to help a child succeed.
In this research it is noted that things parents and teachers do to help the child with ADHD predominantly inattentiveness is better medicine than what prescription medicine can give. However, medicine is sometimes required for the student to get ahead. Even though medicine can and do help students with all types of ADHD, the child still needs some type of a counseling program. All students can learn, but there are times when educators need to go the extra mile to make sure that happens. Isnt every child worth our time and effort? I think so.
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