As we have noted many times throughout this book students with AD/HD never exist in a vacuum. The school exists as a complex organisation with its own specific ethos and characteristics which may help or hinder the progress of children with AD/HD. Furthermore, the school exists beneath the weight of a wide range of public expectations, government regulations and sometimes conflicting demands for accountability. In turn the students concerned often come from family settings which are experiencing severe stress. Sometimes this is because of the effect of the child’s AD/HD and associated difficulties on the family, and sometimes the child’s difficulties are exacerbated by family problems, which might include AD/HD. In this final chapter we reflect briefly on some of the human factors in the school and in family situations and consider some of the practical ways in which these might be addressed.
It is appropriate for teachers and other educational workers to see AD/HD very much from an educational perspective, and to be preoccupied with balancing the needs of the child with AD/HD against those of the rest of the school population. This is by no means an easy task. Teachers often feel unfairly torn between competing demands to achieve high academic results for all students, whilst simultaneously being expected to meet a wide range of complex needs, some of which challenge their ability to provide the best educational opportunities to other students.
Teachers who work with students who exhibit social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, such as those associated with AD/HD, are particularly vulnerable in this respect. This is because they are dealing with a group of students who are viewed, at best, ambiguously by the world at large. These are the students that most teachers do not want to teach, whose particular special educational need uniquely places them at permanent risk of being deprived of educational services through exclusion. And yet, against this background of rejection and insecurity, these same teachers are constantly being exhorted to provide these students with experiences of acceptance and security - the very foundations of personal and educational development.