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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Attention Deficit Disorder is fairly self explanatory in the main problem it causes. The Webster dictionary’s definition of Attention Deficit Disorder is: a syndrome of disordered learning and disruptive behavior that is not caused by any serious underlying physical or mental disorder and that has several subtypes characterized primarily by symptoms of inattentiveness or primarily by symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior (as in speaking out of turn) or by the significant expression of all three -- abbreviation ADD; called also minimal brain dysfunction

(http://medical.merriam-webster.com/medical/Attention%20deficit%20disorder).

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is much more prevalent in today’s society compared to previous generations. More and more people are being diagnosed at an alarming rate. To my surprise, I learned this disorder does not only affect children. There are many adults who suffer from it also. ADHD characteristics are neuro-biologically based, and they often change as the individual gets older. One does not out-grow ADHD even though the behaviors or symptoms may not be exhibited in the same manner or with the same intensity. After learning this fact, I thought it would be very interesting to see how this disorder affects both children and college students. Therefore, I choose one journal article which relates ADHD to children, and the other which deals with the effects of ADHD on college students. The first journal article I researched, “An Intervention Approach for Children with Teacher and Parent Identified Attention Difficulties,” explained that inattention, impulsivity, distractibility, and restlessness are all signs of a child with an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. “There are three subtypes of ADHD which have been defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as: predominantly inattentive, predominately hyperactive impulsive and combined” (Semrud-Clekeman, Nielsen, Clinton, Sylvester, Parle, and Connor, 1999). Usually children who exhibit these subtypes have difficulty completing assignments, displaying high qualities of work, and maintaining good behaviors. Children with the hyperactivity-impulsivity subtype do not display significant attention problems, though they are identified as young as pre-school age.

However, symptoms of inattention don’t typically emerge until the later ages, which must be why the predominately inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD have been found in older school-age children. These children, who have been identified as having ADHD, show an inability to use effective problem solving over a period of time. When researchers looked at their brain structures, they found that the frontal-striatal regions are involved with the child’s ability to inhibit, focus, and shift attention. Researchers have formed interventions involving the behavioral or cognitive management of children with ADHD. Attention-training strategies, classroom-based contingency systems, home-school contingencies, and peer-mediated contingencies are examples of these interventions. In an effort to measure students with ADHD, in addition to medication and intervention strategies, researchers conducted two types of tests. The first test, the visual attention task, required the child to scan fourteen rows of d’s, each d had one to three marks around it. The child was instructed to select the d’s with two marks around them. The children were also told to move down to the next row every twenty seconds. The score is calculated by subtracting the errors from the total amount correct. “It was suggested that this task assesses the capacity for sustained attention as well as accurate visual scanning and inhibition of rapid responses” (Semrud-Clekeman, Nielsen, Clinton, Sylvester, Parle, and Connor, 1999, p. 585). The second test, the auditory attention task, required the child to listen to random letters and numbers. Afterwards, they were asked to remember how many letters or numbers they heard. The child must keep in mind the letters and numbers they heard for each stimulus at the same time. The test starts out with four stimuli and finishes with twelve. “This task has been hypothesized to be a measure of auditory divided attention as well as sustained attention”(Semrud-Clekeman, Nielsen, Clinton, Sylvester, Parle, and Connor, 1999, p. 585). The results of this study confirmed that children with ADHD who had help through the intervention programs showed an increase in their performance on visual and auditory attention tasks, while the other children without the help of intervention programs did not show any improvement. “These children most likely represent a continuum of attention and activity / impulsivity problems and may describe the population of children with significant attention problems who are infrequently referred for an assessment beyond the pediatrician” (Semrud-Clekeman, Nielsen, Clinton, Sylvester, Parle, and Connor, 1999, p. 587). It seems very probable that children with attention and work completion difficulties without significant behavioral and learning problems often go unaided in classrooms today. The second journal article I selected is titled “Psychological Functioning Differences Among College Students with Confirmed ADHD, ADHD by Self-Report only, and Without ADHD.” In an attempt to understand attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder, Professor Lee A. Rosen, psychologist Cori Ann Ramirez, and doctoral student Tracy L. Richards have researched the effects this disorder has had on college students. College students were researched based on three categories: those with confirmed ADHD, those with self-reported, and students without ADHD. The team of researchers had difficulty in diagnosing students with ADHD because of three factors: “establishing a childhood history of ADHD, conducting careful differential diagnoses, and assessing for co morbid diagnoses” (Ramirez, Richards & Rosen, 1999, p.299) Researchers also found that the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, as well as various other diagnoses are usually associated with ADHD. As I learned from the first research article, symptoms of this disorder include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. When researchers noted the symptoms in college students, they found many of these students exhibiting restlessness, impulsivity, distraction, poor performance in academic settings that require sustained attention and behavior regulation. To measure students for ADHD, researchers used several tests: the Brief Symptom Screening Form (BSSF), a self- report measure of ADHD, a Background

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