September is national ADHD/ADD month. However at the Tampa Day School in Tampa, Florida every day is a day for awareness about ADHD. For the past forty years, this school has been devoted to educating those who learn outside societies norm by providing small classrooms staffed with well-educated instructors.
Tampa Day School presents a mission for success. They write,
“Our mission is captured with a simple expression—UHA! We Understand, Honor, and Accommodate each child (and his or her learning style)…and we do it with passion! It is our responsibility to provide a learning environment that promotes the individual feeling of success for each child.” -- http://www.tampadayschool.com/about/mission/
Tampa Day School backs up their claim by using a focus on learning styles, respecting differences, and goal-setting while involving the students family on a universal strive for fun and success.
TAMPA DAY SCHOOL
12606 Henderson Road
Tampa, FL 33625
What is ADHD/ADD?
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is theorized as a neurotransmitter problem in the midbrain and the mesolimbic DA system involving rich dopamine (DA) neurons. (Beauchaine, Gatzke-Kopp, Neuhaus, Chipman, Reid, & Webster-Stratton, 2013, p. 482)
This complicated chemical construct results in an underactive mesolimbic DA system causing excessive reward-seeking behaviors. The manifestations of these behaviors are perceived as hyperactivity/impulsivity in nature. Psychologically perceived as a constant irritable state environment plays a crucial role in the internal and external symptoms of ADHD. (Beauchaine et la, 2013, p. 482)
What are the symptoms of ADHD/ADD?
The symptoms of ADHD/ADD are often described as hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors. There are three types of ADHD and the diagnosis depends on the symptoms presented. Not all individuals diagnosed with ADHD/ADD present with the same symptoms. The categories are predominantly hyperactive/impulse, predominately inattentive, and combined.
“Children with ADHD often exhibit most (but rarely all) of the following behaviors:
- Difficulty developing or following a plan for schoolwork or other activities
- Trouble organizing books, schedules, and locker
- Poor memory
- No recognition of salience (important vs. unimportant)
- Blurts out answer before question has been completed
- Difficulty awaiting turn
- Acts without considering the consequences
- Interrupts or intrudes on others (i.e. butts into conversations or games, or talks out of turn)
- No attention to detail
- Trouble listening
- Difficulty following directions
- Makes careless mistakes
- Difficulty maintaining attention for longer periods of time
- Does not finish what is started
- Reluctant to do challenging tasks requiring prolonged mental effort (like schoolwork, homework, or chores)
- Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, or books)
- Easily distracted
- Fidgets or squirms in seat
- Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected (for example, mealtimes)
- Runs about or climbs excessively when she/he knows she/he should not
- Has difficulty playing quietly
- Talks a lot”
Who does ADHD/ADD effect?
Everyone is affected by ADHD/ADD. As one of the most common mental health disorders, at least one student with ADHD/ADD is present in every classroom. Often the classroom experience is a negative experience for both the teacher and the student. The experience and knowledge of the teachers, as well as their attitudes toward ADHD/ADD, directly correlate with the diagnosed students learning experience. (Anderson, Watt, Noble, & Shanley, 2012, p. 511)
Anyone may be diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, however, there is a genetic link, which means if the parent has ADHD/ADD the child, is more likely to also have ADHD/ADD. Often teachers are the first line of recognition, initiation of treatment, and implementing strategies in the classroom. (Anderson et la, 2012, p. 511)
Most doctors do not treat ADHD children with medications prior to age five, but symptoms can start much earlier. Although, many individuals with ADHD are not diagnosed until later in life and sometimes adulthood symptoms are usually present by age seven. (Barkley, Knouse, & Murphy, 2011, p. 439)
Living with ADHD has secondary symptoms created by environment. For example, and child with ADHD has difficulty conforming to the norms of a classroom where their behaviors are viewed in a negative light. Poorly informed teachers and staff can create a feeling of failure in a child.
Evidence shows adults diagnosed in adulthood are more likely than those diagnosed in childhood for decreased self-esteem, depression, and lack of motivation. Although, these same negative feelings toward self are present in those diagnosed in childhood, the simple act of diagnosis seems to decrease anxiety and increase coping skills in those diagnosed earlier rather than later. (Barkley et la., 2011)
There is evidence presented in the constant battle between nurture vs. nature that supports environment as a cause for ADHD/ADD and it’s behavior control both negatively and positively. In a non-supportive environment ADHD/ADD symptoms may become more difficult to manage. (Sherman, 2006)
The DSM-IV TR, the diagnostic resource for psychological disorders, states that symptoms must be present in two out of three environments such as school and home. Therefore, an individual exhibiting symptoms in only one location may be affected by environment.
Anderson, D. L., Watt, S. E., Noble, W., & Shanley, D. C. (2012). Knowledge of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attitudes toward teaching children with ADHD: THE role of teaching experience. Psychology In The Schools, 49(6), 511-525. doi:10.1002/pits.21617
Barkley, R. A., Knouse, L. E., & Murphy, K. R. (2011). Correspondence and disparity in the self- and other ratings of current and childhood ADHD symptoms and impairment in adults with ADHD. Psychological Assessment, 23(2), 437-446. doi:10.1037/a0022172
Beauchaine, T. P., Gatzke-Kopp, L., Neuhaus, E., Chipman, J., Reid, M., & Webster-Stratton, C. (2013). Sympathetic- and parasympathetic-linked cardiac function and prediction of externalizing behavior, emotion regulation, and prosocial behavior among preschoolers treated for ADHD. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 81(3), 481-493. doi:10.1037/a0032302
Sherman, Carl (2006) Culture Vs. Biology: What Causes ADHD? A doctor weighs in on the controversial theory that our fast-paced, stressed-out, consumer-driven lives cause AD/HD. Additude, February/March 2006 http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1546.html