Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
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 FamilyDoctor.org (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. PBS.org (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
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.
These are groups and organizations that help families with children and adults with ADHD.
Kazdin, A. E. (2000). American Psychological Association. ADHD. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/topics/adhd/index.aspx
National Institute for Mental Health (2009). National Institute for Mental Health. ADHD. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/complete-index.shtml
American Academy of Physicians (2009). Family Doctor. ADHD. Retrieved from http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/behavior/118.html
Public Broadcasting System (2001). PBS-Frontline, Medicating Kids. Federal Laws Pertaining to ADHD Diagnosed Children. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/schools/feds.html
Centers for Disease Control (2009). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention Defecit-Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
ADHD News (2008). ADHD News. Glossary. Retrieved from http://www.adhdnews.com/glossary.html