Making Sense of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

By Carol R. Lensch | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

The essential thing at the start is the habit of thinking.

-- Henry Cabot Lodge

The study of how the human brain works, especially that of children, can be both intriguing and challenging as one attempts to analyze how learning takes place. As a special educator I have had an abundance of opportunities to observe children, particularly those with special needs. Although our educational system categorizes students into groups of special education and general education, all children are special and unique in the ways in which they learn. An area of particular interest and concern regarding individual learning differences is that of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Typically, an AD/HD child will exhibit excessive motor activity, impulsivity, and difficulty attending to tasks ( American Psychiatric Association [hereafter APA], 1994).


BACKGROUND

Over the years I have seen a growing number of students diagnosed as having AD/HD. Between the years 1990 and 1995, the diagnosis of AD/HD has more than doubled ( Turecki, 1997). This increase in identification leads one to question what changes have taken place to bring it about and what can be done to deal with the challenges created by the increase and numbers of children with the disorder. Has the nature of the student or the tolerance of educators changed in recent years? Are there environmental or societal factors to consider? The incidence of AD/HD is estimated to be 3-5% of

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