Attention deficiency disorder

Attention deficiency disorder

INTRODUCTION

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The term attention deficiency disorder, describes a child or adolescent with difficulty in focusing and maintaining attention in social and or academic situations - Attention deficiency disorder introduction. Children with such disabilities are normally described by terms the ADD or ADHD if they are very energetic and tend to be disruptive in the classroom or conversely if they are a very quiet child who sits at his/her desk staring out the window or doodling.

However for a child who is largely disorganized, has difficulty remembering very often loses things or waits until the dying minutes to complete assignments or projects may also suffer from ADD. In any of these events it is prudent that a consultation with an expert is recommended to obtain a proper diagnosis so that the child can be supported and treated or to perhaps to rule out other types of problems that may be causing these behaviors. Though Attention Disorder Treatment tends to emphasize mostly on children it is noted in adults and might have gone unnoticed during the childhood years. In the earlier generations, it was not a widely recognized disorder so adult ADDs often do not realize they have ADD until their own child is diagnosed. Parents will understand their own past or present behavior when they look through the signs and symptoms for their child.

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EFFECTS OF ADD ON LEARNING

It is proven that there is occurrence of learning disability and Attention Deficit Disorder. This has been achieved through studies based on statistical accounts on their simultaneous occurrence, the relation between sub-types of attention disorder and learning disabilities and suggestions for this co-occurrence and their educational implications assessed.

It is acknowledged that learning disability and Attention Deficit Disorder frequently co-occur. Children diagnosed as ADD apart from having learning disorders, are also academic underachievers.

ADD occurs in an estimated 5% of school age children. This disorder is originally considered “Minimal Brain Dysfunction” and thus related to learning disabilities. However it has been gradually recognized as a behavioral disorder, separate from the developmental learning disabilities.

It has been found that Children with ADD are more disabled academically and cognitively than those without ADD. The disorder, which often occurs with learning disabilities, appears not only to have a negative effect on school achievement, but limits functional ability in other environments as well. In addition, subjects with ADD have also been found to have problems with reading difficulties and language processing difficulties. Language and verbal abilities affect acquisition and development of reading skills and a possible effect on learning disability in ADD sufferers.

“Stolzenberg and Julkowski (Marshall & Hynd, 1997) hypothesized that children with ADD experience difficulty decoding in reading and computing in math because working memory problems based on attention, interfere with absolute symbol systems necessary to these skill areas. Zentall and Ferkes (cited in Riccio & Jemison, 1998) expressed the view that inattention and disorganization, which relate to cognitive style, contribute to math computation deficiency. On the other hand, decreased IQ, memory, and reading ability seem to correlate with comprehension in reading and problem solving. Of interest are the findings that the cognitive tasks that are often predictive of reading disability have been found to be deficient in individuals with ADD. Among such tasks are naming, perceptual speed, and speed of cognitive processing (Marshall & Hynd, 1997). While lack of proficiency in these tasks has been shown to be predictive, Wood and Felton (Riccio & Jemison, 1998) found attention variables themselves not to predict reading achievement.

They found no significant predictive relationship between identification as ADD to either word identification or passage comprehension. The study also revealed no correlation between diagnosis of ADD and later “reading ability.”

Ruaklidge and Tannock(2002),ascribe the problems in rapid naming of objects to the ADHD factor.Take the example of the survey on ADD by Tannock(1997),noted that complex subtypes of ADHD also showed poorer levels of ability to name objects or even having learnt.

ADD patients experience the challenge of transferring skills to other situations, an integral process of learning. As such they require specified illustrations to help them interpret and apply such knowledge successfully into other relevant situations. In addition, passive learning may not necessarily work for the ADD, and active involvement is important where ADD Child is encouraged to say out loud what he or she has learned. This helps fortify the multi sensory aspects of learning. Since  the ADD Child has problems with planning, it affects his ability to construct legible, relevant, even significant order of events. This is compounded by the fact that the ADD child might be impulsive. In this case, in a typical class setting or learning atmosphere, it becomes hard for the ADD Student to learn from random or spontaneous experience. This is a more challenging aspect in the case of learning Mathematics where the constant failure creates a mental block to the subject.

The main challenge for the ADD Child learning has to do with distraction, impulsivity and possible lack of reinforcement. Significantly, it becomes quite a challenge to recall what has been taught or learned within a recent past. This is complexed by the specific resource being used to deliver information to the ADD  student specifically  where there is lack of cue cards or labels that have been designated for use in expediting, mastering of the subject at hand.

The challenge of learning abstract subjects and language can be quite a factor for the ADD Child. This is noted in cases where simulations are lacking and as such, the subject being taught does not appear concrete to the ADD Child.

EFFECTS OF ADD ON THINKING

The child with ADHD faces the challenge of anxiety disorder. These are situations that relate to thinking or mental concentration, The ADHD child ,shows excessive worry fear or panic which can also lead to physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, stomach pains and diarrhea. However, it must be noted that ADHD is not recognized as a learning disability, but its interference with concentration is noted as a probable cause for performance in school.

Children with ADHD according to a study by  Carte,Nigg and Hinshaw(1996)have been noted to perform more poorly on “tests”of simple verbal fluency. Studies have been done that involve relative problems like schizophrenia in relation to ADHD. This has shown that the ADHD child has narrower range of less severe thought disorder compared to the schizophrenia. As also illustrated by Caplan,Guthrie,Tang(2001) the group of children with ADHD showed illogical thinking and  more lexical cohesion when compared to the control children.Caplan et al (1996) allude that thinking problems evident in  the ADHD group are associated with problems with executive functioning(Working memory),inattention and IQ.Thinking is an exercise that requires deep concentration, a feature lacking in ADD sufferers. Effects of ADD on thinking are indeed very examinable during exercises requiring mathematical analysis. ADD patients experience difficulties on impulse control, hyperactivity and have a limited attention span hence cannot tackle numerical problem appropriately. According to Jeff Gazley (2004), ADHD affects prefrontal cortex of the brain. One of the functions of the prefrontal cortex being forward thinking, critical thinking and learning from experience. Jeff Gazley points out that when it comes to learning where ADD is noted in a child of short attention span, poor time management, misperception and short term memory loss are noted.

Take an example of an exam situation, an ADD child according to Dr. Jeff Gazley’s example, may come late for the exam, forget that there is an exam, fail to answer questions properly, and prefer to do the exam an other day and or even be distracted from the all process of doing the exam. To correlate problem solving, learning and thinking, Dr. Jeff Gazley points out to aspect of “screen out” capacity in ADD or ADHD individuals. He alludes to the fact that ADD or ADHD children (and even adults) may have the challenge of feeling over whelmed or overestimated to an extent that they cannot control the impulses easily. Hence under stress, and during need for concentration, people with ADHD disorder cannot focus on their full cognitive ability.

PROBLEM SOLVING

The problem solving capacity of an ADD or ADHD individual is limited by the fact that it is hard for the children to control their behavior and or even pay attention. The ADHD or ADD individual however fails to meet the requirement(of paying attention)as such he fails to finish what he has embarked on ,he never listens and gets easily distracted by movements of other things outside the reading area.

Problem solving also involve order, formula or even organization skill. The ADD individual (child) however has a problem in organizing his work instead keeps changing excessively from one activity to another” Sir George F(1902).Faced with the challenge of lack of concentration in specific scenarios  where guidance may not be possible for example in the exam room, the ultimate lack of supervision or guidance in doing the work at hand leaves the ADD or ADHD individual in  a state that he does not get to do let alone finish the work. In the book, Psychosocial Characteristics of Exceptional Children, Vicki et al argue that problem solving is a pointer to the enormity of the ADD or ADHD problem.Marzocchi et al (2002) studied the factor of irrelevant information on arithmetic problem solving in inattentive children. The study focused on a group of 20 inattentive children, fourth and fifth graders, and 20 control children matched for IQ, gender and schooling who were administered 12 word and arithmetic problems. It was noted that inattentive children were more disturbed when irrelevant information was verbal, than when it was numerical, suggesting that inattentive children’s inability in problem solving is due to the challenge of inhibiting irrelevant information. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition),by the American Psychiatry Association points out that inattentive factors that come into play when it come to such a group as the one mentioned above are: forgetfulness, distraction by extraneous stimuli and the problem of sustaining ones attention to the task at hand. Remarkably most of these inattentive children never seem to listen when directly addressed in addition to not seeming to like anything that will require them to have a sustained mental focus. (Marzorcchi et al) ADD children have the problem with understanding the symbols and intricacy of mathematics. in many cases, the inability to differentiate from relevant information, leads to error. Whereas written or theory explanation may fail to work for them visual signs and Numbers may boost the child’s understanding.

CONCLUSION

Attention deficiency disorder deserves much more input from health experts if the current negative trends among school children and a few adults are to be ameliorated As a psychological problem, sufferers are mostly regarded to have a class of their own due to the symptomatic behaviors that they posses such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness and even indiscipline.For instance, it is prudent to allocate more research funds towards ADD and similar psychological problems affecting our society. In addition information about this disorder need to be disseminated to parents through extensive civic education programs. Parents should be taught how to monitor their children, particularly how they can suspect\ Attention Deficit Disorder and the kind of professionals to approach. The society must also be accommodative to individuals with this disorder and provide them with useful guidance as an approach towards behavior change.

It also important that affected children in school should be given supervisors and or counselors to help them fit well in the society. It is true that it is a challenge to clear the globe of Attention Deficiency Disorder owing to the suggested manner of its acquisition. However the implementation of these proposals may provide a major step towards managing the victims within our midst.

REFERENCE

1. Wolraich ML, Lindgren SD, Stumbo PJ, et al. Effects of diets high in sucrose or aspartame on the behavior and cognitive performance of children Engl J Med 1994; 330:301–7.

2. Wolraich ML, Wilson DB, White JW. The effect of sugar on behavior or cognition in children. A meta-analysis. JAMA 1995;274:1617–21.

3. Milberger S, Biederman J, Faraone SV, et al. Is maternal smoking during pregnancy a risk factor for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children? Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153:1138–42.

4. Tuthill RW. Hair lead levels related to children’s classroom attention-deficit behavior. Arch Environ Health 1996; 51:214–20.

 

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