Term Paper: ADD/ADHD Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

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[. . .] Additional studies (cited in Schwiebert 2002) have also shown that ADHD teenagers are more likely to engage in substance abuse. Students diagnosed with ADHD were two to five times more likely to use cigarettes, alcohol or marijuana than other teenagers without the disorder.

As adolescents and young adults, ADHD patients are also more likely to show signs of sadness, depression, anxiety and a sense of general hopelessness regarding their future. This effect is more felt in teens that are also grappling with issues of peer acceptance and sexual identity. These early signs of depression further add to the burden of adolescents who are already dealing with the effects of ADHD.

Summary of effects

ADHD has a significant effect on a wide host of skills necessary for learning, both in the academic and in the social world. From the very beginning, ADHD already affects the development of basic motor skills in children. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing the necessary attention required for accurate motor movement. For many ADHD sufferers, this is an early source of frustration with the classroom experience.

Studies have tied these motor skill difficulties with verbal skills. Many ADHD sufferers supposedly find it difficult to develop the "mouth" movement skills needed to form words properly. This has effects on the speech and vocalization patterns of children with ADHD. Later, this could translate to the lower scores on standardized test measuring verbal ability.

ADHD sufferers also experience difficulty in the classroom, in more scholastic tasks such as reading and mathematics. These difficulties are also felt in the development of social and behavioral skills. Unfortunately, many ADHD sufferers do not get the benefit of counseling, and end up behaving in delinquent and anti-social ways. These behaviors make it even more difficult for ADHD sufferers to form the interpersonal relationships that they will need in order to function, even with their illness.


Since no cause has been identified for ADHD, there is also no cure for this disorder. However, certain medications have been found effective in controlling its symptoms. For example, stimulants containing amphetamine and methylphenidate can help address inattentiveness or hyperactivity. Antidepressant medication like Prozac can also be prescribed when the stimulants are not effective (Kalff et al. 2003).

Aside from drugs, behavior training is has also used to treat ADD and ADHD. Programs like behavior management, social skills training and counseling are being used mostly with children. The goal of these programs is to help ADHD and ADD sufferers recognize and modify their inappropriate behavior. While these programs alone will not address the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, they help to alleviate symptoms better when used in conjunction with proper medication (Kalff et al. 2003).

Towards this goal, school counselors have a large role to play in helping children and students deal with their ADHD. First, trained school personnel would be able to recognize the symptoms of ADHD, ensuring that the child will have access to help as early as possible. High school counselors in particular will be able to help college-bound ADHD students with skills like making alternative testing arrangement, developing effective reading and note-taking techniques and learning how to collaborate with classmates. These skills will be invaluable in helping students overcome their learning obstacles in their pursuit of a college education (Schwiebert et al. 2002).

In addition to professionals, a child's family also plays a central role in helping a child address and overcome the effects of ADHD. A study by Peris and Hinshaw (2003) showed that ADHD children with parents who were stressed and overly critical showed higher levels of hyperactivity. This study also found a link between parenting stress and maternal depression, factors which seem to cause lower verbal IQ scores on the part of the ADHD child. ADHD children with depressed parents were also more likely to engage in disruptive behavior. The converse side to this equation is that ADHD patients who have supportive parents have a greater chance of overcoming the obstacles to learning.

The success of such measures can be seen in the cases of ADHD patients who have gone on to college and professional careers, in spite of their disease.

A study of college students with ADHD, for example, shows that majority of children who are diagnosed as children continue to experience the symptoms until adulthood. In many cases, however, the symptoms of hyperactivity can give way to feelings of "internal restlessness." Many mentioned that this restlessness affects cognitive abilities, raising concerns that college-age ADHD patients are at risk of low academic achievement (Weyandt 2003).

One way to address this problem is the hiring of more ADHD specialists in colleges and universities. Currently, there are not many ADHD specialists specifically trained for college-age students and higher education. As a result, many ADHD students in colleges drop out after being overwhelmed. Having competent counselors to turn to would help students facing these problems (Baverstock and Finlay 2003).


In summary, ADHD can have significant effects on a child's ability to learn and to do well in school. One of the earliest ways this is seen is in the development of motor skills. ADHD could result in a lack of coordination, making tasks such as piling blocks or holding a pencil more difficult. These difficulties persist in the development of speech and voice patterns, the building blocks of language and communication. Problems with word recall further hurt ADHD patients in tests that measure reading and mathematics skills.

ADHD children and teenagers also have difficulty developing social skills. This is particularly true for those who have stressed, overly-critical or depressed parents. As a result, many ADHD sufferers engage in anti-social behavior like stealing and vandalism. These delinquent behaviors form additional hurdles to the education process.

However, though there is no cure for ADHD, there are many measures that will help a child overcome these learning obstacles and live a fulfilling life. One of the most important is recognizing the symptoms early on.

Counseling would help families - parents in particular - see their vital role in encouraging and helping children address their difficulties. Elementary and high school counselors can help students develop study skills that they can use to increase focus, concentration and recall. Finally, colleges and universities should also do their part for ADHD students by hiring specialists to help older patients. Though there is no cure for ADHD, there are many techniques that could help patients overcome the detrimental effects ADHD can have on the ability to learn.

Works Cited

Baverstock, A and F. Finlay. 2003. "Who manages the care of students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in higher education?" Child: Care, Health and Development. May. PsychInfo.

Breznitz, Zvia. 2003. "The Speech and Vocalization Patterns of Boys With ADHD Compared With Boys With Dyslexia and Boys Without Learning Disabilities." Journal of Genetic Psychology. December. PscychInfo Database

Cutting, Laurie et al. 2003. "Evidence for Unexpected Weaknesses in Learning in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Without Reading Disabilities." Journal of Learning Disabilities. May/June.

Kalff, A. et al. 2003. "Low- and high-level controlled processing in executive motor control tasks in 5-6-year-old children at risk of ADHD." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines.

October. PsychInfo Database.

Peris, T.S. And S.P. Hinshaw. "Family dynamics and preadolescent girls with ADHD: the relationship between expressed emotion, ADHD symptomatology, and comorbid disruptive behavior." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. November. PsychInfo Database

Tolpal, M.E. et al. 2003. "Time perception deficits in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and comorbid reading difficulties in child and adolescent samples."

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. September. PsychInfo Database.

Weyandt, L. et… [END OF PREVIEW]

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