Monday, January 25, 2010

Topic 1

Topic 1

Holly Tetreault

Emotional and Behavioral Disorders


The Basics

The Encyclopedia of Psychology, as adapted by the American Psychological Association (2010), defines Attention Hyper-Activity Disorder (ADHD) as a behavioral condition in which children and adults are impulsive, active, and often unable to maintain attention. For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD they will have six or more symptoms from a list of nine. The symptoms must be present for more than six months. The National Institute for Mental Health (2009) lists symptoms such as hyperactivity: fidgeting, consistent talking, constant movement, and difficulty doing calm and quiet activities. According to (2009), information on the behavior will be collected from various people who know the child including parents, teachers, coaches, relatives, or childcare providers. Your child’s physician may recommend seeing a psychologist. Only a doctor or psychologist can diagnose ADHD.

For information on strategies to help students diagnosed with ADHD please visit the Department of Education Website to view and download the booklet created in 2003 for the sole purpose of helping educators and parents learn to work with their children better.

Federal Policies and Legislation

The first thing parents and educators should understand is that having a diagnosis of ADHD does not guarantee a child special education services. However, there are two ways in which they can qualify for support. (2001) states that students may qualify under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law, or under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Section 504 provides students with additional education support in the general education classroom. This law prevents students from being discriminated against due to any differing abilities. IDEA requires a student to be evaluated and if they fit into one of the 13 categories of disabilities they qualify. In order for a student to qualify their diagnosis of ADHD would have to affect the student’s performance in school. ADHD often falls under other health impairments (OHI), emotional disturbance (ED), or a specific learning disability (LD).

DSM IV Definitions and Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control (2009), uses the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) to ensure that people are consistent in their diagnosing of ADHD. They list six symptoms of ADHD that children must have for at least six months in order to be diagnosed as a student with ADHD. These symptoms must be inappropriate and disruptive than a typically developing peer.

Hyperactivity symptoms include:

Students who fidget at inappropriate times.

Students who frequently leave their seat.

Students who run and move frequently and without control.

Students who have trouble playing quietly.

Students who constantly move.

Students who talk excessively.

Terms to Know

Terms are from (2010).

ADHD- Attention Hyper-Activity Disorder

Hyperactivity- Having highly or excessively active behavior.

IDEA- law that guarantees services for students with disabilities through and IEP.

IEP- individualized education plan

Impulsiveness- Inclined to act on impulse rather than thought.

Neurological- Brain functions.

Pharmacological- The science of drugs, including their composition, uses and effects.

Section 504- the law that prohibits the discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Stimulant- a drug that temporarily quickens central nervous system function.

Websites to See

Some of these websites were used to create this page, others are helpful tips and advice for parents and educators.

Additional Resources

These are groups and organizations that help families with children and adults with ADHD.


Kazdin, A. E. (2000). American Psychological Association. ADHD. Retrieved from

National Institute for Mental Health (2009). National Institute for Mental Health. ADHD. Retrieved from

American Academy of Physicians (2009). Family Doctor. ADHD. Retrieved from

Public Broadcasting System (2001). PBS-Frontline, Medicating Kids. Federal Laws Pertaining to ADHD Diagnosed Children. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control (2009). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention Defecit-Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved from

ADHD News (2008). ADHD News. Glossary. Retrieved from

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tips for Teachers

Here are a few things to consider if you have a student in your classroom with Autism.....there will be many more tips to come!!!

  1. Autistic kids often have trouble with generalization, which can affect the way they learn skills. When teaching a child to look both ways before crossing a street, it may be necessary to show them in several locations. If not, they may think they need to look only when crossing at that particular spot.
  2. This lack of generalization can apply to objects as well. For example, Hilde de Clereq from Belgium had a case of a boy who could use the toilet at home but wouldn't use toilets elsewhere. Eventually it was realized that the toilet at home had a black seat and the boy couldn't connect the concept of "toilet" to ones that had white seats. They were able to teach him to generalize by putting black tape on the seat at school then removing pieces of the tape over time. Eventually, he was able to generalize "toilet" to include white seats as well.
  3. Autistic children may fixate on something they enjoy, such as trains. Incorporating this fixation into their lessons by including stories of trains, math problems involving trains, and so on gives motivation to learn.
  4. It is common for an autistic kid to have trouble connecting two events even if they are very close together. For example, if teaching reading with flash cards, use cards with both the written word and the picture of the object on the same side of the card. If they are on different sides, the child may not understand that they represent the same idea.
  5. If the child has auditory sensitivity, a class bell, PA system, or even the teacher's voice could seem like someone is blasting an air horn. In a classroom, muffling the bell or PA system while still leaving them audible may help the student to stay focused. The teacher might need to speak more softly, especially when addressing the student directly.
  6. Determine which learning style best suits the child with autism, and emphasize that method of learning and communication. Taking the example of the child who is ignoring the lecture, if he were a visual learner you might show him his seat or a picture of a chair to help him understand it is time to sit down. If he were a kinesthetic learner, you might lead him over to his seat with light pressure on his shoulders.

Tips for Parents

5 Tips for Parents

1. Learn to be the best advocate you can be for your child. Be informed. Take advantage
of all the services that are available to you in your community. You will meet practitioners and providers who can educate you and help you. You will gather great strength from the people you meet.

2. Don't push your feelings away. Talk about them. You may feel both ambivalent and angry. Those are emotions to be expected. It's OK to feel conflicting emotions. Try to direct your anger towards the disorder and not towards your loved ones. When you find yourself arguing with your spouse over an autism related issue, try to remember that this topic is painful for both of you; and be careful not to get mad at each other when it really is the autism that has you so upset and angry.

3. Try to have some semblance of an adult life. Be careful to not let autism consume every waking hour of your life. Spend quality time with your typically developing children and your spouse, and refrain from constantly talking about autism. Everyone in your family needs support, and to be happy despite the circumstances.

4. Appreciate the small victories your child may achieve. Love your child and take great pride in each small accomplishment. Focus on what they can do instead of making comparisons with a typically developing child. Love them for who they are rather than what they should be.

5. Get involved with the Autism community. Don't underestimate the power of “community”. You may be the captain of your team, but you can't do everything yourself. Make friends with other parents who have children with autism. By meeting other parents you will have the support of families who understand your day to day challenges. Getting involved with autism advocacy is empowering and productive. You will be doing something for yourself as well as your child by being proactive.

Symptoms that are related to Autism

Social Symptoms

-lack of interaction
-lack of eye contact
-resisting attention from others
-slow to interpret emotions
-can not express their emotions

Communication Difficulties

-may be mute all their lives
-use sign language or visual icons to communicate
-inability to understand meanings of communication (body language, tone, etc.)

Repetitive Behaviors

-Repetitive physical motions (hand flapping, walk on toes, arm movements)
-Consistency in routines
-OCD tendencies

Physical and Medical Issues that may Accompany Autism

-Pica (eating of inedible items)
-Genetic disorders
-Gastrointestinal disorders
-sleep dysfunction
-sensory integration dysfunction

What is Autism??????

What is Autism?
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). The other pervasive developmental disorders are PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not
Otherwise Specified), Asperger's Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders.

How common is Autism?
Today, it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism. Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually. There is not established explanation for this increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered. Studies suggest boys are more likely than girls to develop autism and receive the diagnosis three to four times more frequently. Current estimates are that in the United States alone, one out of 70 boys is diagnosed with autism.

What causes Autism?
The simple answer is we don't know. The vast majority of cases of autism are idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown.


Treatment for Autism

IN my experience......there is no real treatment for autism. There are some intensive therapy programs and some research-based methods that can help control autism.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Pivotal Response Therapy (PRT)

Verbal Therapy


Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Training and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped
Children (TEACCH)

Social Communication/ Emotional Regulation/ Transactional Support (SCERTS)

Treatment for Associated, Biological & Medical Conditions Associated with Autism

Autism Organizations

autism society

National Autism Association