ADD ADHD Research Proposal

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The Controversial Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Among public schools in the United States, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become a buzzword in the classroom, with teachers and parents often engaged in a debate regarding the disorder. Scholars have staged literary arguments regarding nearly every component of the disorder, from its cause to its diagnosis to its treatment. Commonly, laypeople have been discouraged by ADHD's bad reputation, assuming that the disorder may simply be the result of poor parenting (Kewley, 1998). However Kewley (1998) rejects this consensus through arguing that contenders have not considered information regarding the possible genetic explanation for ADHD. Indeed, Kewley (1998) suggests that studies of the brain and studies involving twins show a biological -- more specifically neurological and genetic -- component at least partially explaining the disorder. Kewley (1998) argues that the disorder is under diagnosed in Britain, but because ADHD is almost always diagnosed in the United States, some have argued that there is a cultural component to the disorder, while others have simply suggested that U.S. teachers and parents are overly anxious to make this diagnosis (Boyd and Bee, 2009). Thus, the political, psychological, and medical situation surrounding ADHD is tumultuous to say the least. But researchers have continued to delve deeply into the disease, considering the possible neurological, biological, social, and cultural components of its existence. Through an examination of the nature of ADHD, its affects, and its treatment, a better understanding of the most current research regarding the disease can be grasped.

Research Proposal on ADD ADHD Assignment

Classified as a mental disorder, Boyd and Bee (2009) write that sufferers of ADHD are either more hyperactive or have more trouble paying attention than other children in the same cohorts. Two primary types of ADHD exist: the hyperactive and impulsive type, including those who have trouble being clam or who exhibit a high activity level, and the type in which children have difficulty paying attention. Kewley (1998) writes that ADHD can be difficult to diagnose because of the variety of ways in which the disorder can present itself. Furthermore, the author states that there are many other disorders that have similar symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and Asperger's Syndrome. Even day-to-day problems such as difficulties with relationships can manifest symptoms in children that look remarkably like ADHD. This is why Kewley (1998) argues that symptoms must be ongoing before a diagnosis is made. Further, Kewley (1998) advocates the need to assess children's symptoms both at home and at school before making a diagnosis of ADHD. Otherwise, it may be the environment that is simply encouraging the child to display ADHD-like symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, most children who have been diagnosed with ADHD do not grow out of the disorder when they become teenagers; actually, 60% of those who suffer from ADHD in childhood carry the disease to adulthood (Kewley, 1998). As will be seen in the discussion of the affects of ADHD, the disease can be quite detrimental to sufferers, as it causes children to act in a way that clashes with cultural norms.

Nearly none would debate that the symptoms produced by ADHD are serious ones. The controversy over the disorder arises when its roots are considered. Some argue that biology can be held accountable for the child with ADHD. Indeed, this appears to be at least partially true. Although it is important that scientists not too quickly assume that relations in longitudinal studies suggest a correlation, ADHD has been positively correlated with time of birth. Children born prematurely tend to have ADHD at greater rates than those who were born full-term (Boyd and Bee, 2009). Other possible biological causes of ADHD include brain malfunctioning, or especially developmental problems limiting the functional development of the right hemisphere of the brain. Others argue that ADHD sufferers lack the required amount of serotonin production or have a biological need for increased sensory stimulation (Boyd and Bee, 2009). Another controversial suggestion as to the cause of ADHD implies culture as the culprit. Indeed, researchers forced to deal with the fact that the disorder has not been diagnosed frequently outside of the United States face only a limited number of options to explain this data. The first, used by critics of the diseases and the use of medication to treat it, suggest that there is an over-diagnosis problem in the United States when it comes to ADHD. Another explanation is the fact that parents, psychologists, doctors, and teachers outside of the United States have not diagnosed the disease properly. The last and final explanation for this data is the fact that a cultural component exists, making the disorder more prevalent in U.S. culture (Boyd and Bee, 2009). Kewley (1998), a British pediatrician, suggests that similar controversies have lead to an illusion of over-diagnosis in Britain. The truth, however, is that there is an under-diagnosis of the disorder in the United Kingdom, according to Kewley (1998), who cites misconceptions about the disease as the foundation for this problem.

Despite controversy into its surroundings, the effects of ADHD are quite frustrating for children who develop the disorder, especially because diagnosis occurs, generally, right around the time that children enter school. Often times, ADHD can be considered a learning disability, although it is not always classified as such. Children whose ADHD has affected them in such a way that they are having severe problems excelling in school can be classified as having a learning disability (Boyd and Bee, 2009). Regardless, school can be a difficult place for children who are either unable to pay attention or who have high levels of activity. Kewley (1998) states that the disorder can quite easily interfere with the social and educational development of children, even acting as a precursor to other mental problems through adulthood if it is not treated. In fact, the author also suggests that children left untreated are more likely to commit criminal behavior later in their lives (Kewley, 1998). The effects of having this disorder during childhood cannot be simply spelled out by the terms "educational and social development" and speculation for future problems. Instead, it is important to realize that the school years are important times for children learning to communicate with one another and develop friendships. The inability to develop friendships or the feelings of isolation from peers can deeply affect a child's well-being, as well as their self-esteem. These affects become even more potent when an examination of the number of children affected by the disorder. According to LeFever, Dawson, and Marrow (1999), "Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions of childhood" (pg. 1359). In their examination of exactly how many students could be considered as suffering from the disorder, the researchers measured the amount of students given methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin, by school nurses. Their findings suggested that rates of ADHD sufferers were higher than expected, and that more boys and whites suffered from the disorder than girls and blacks. More students tended to need medication as the grades increased, and the researchers also found that students who were young for their grades were more likely to need treatment (LeFever, Dawson, and Marrow, 1999). Thus, not only can ADHD be worse than simple children's inattention, but it also affects a large number of people.

Although LeFever, Dawson, and Marrow's (1999) study was intended to study the number of children affected with ADHD, the study also brought up another, important problem associated with ADHD -- treatment. Indeed, the use of Ritalin to treat students suffering with the disease is quite controversial. Popular opinion often suggests that poor parenting accounts for ADHD-like symptoms, and Ritalin is a method that parents use in order to make up for their poor parenting decisions. However, Kewley (1998) writes that the media have greatly exaggerated concern regarding the possible side effects of drugs such as Ritalin, arguing that concerns regarding addiction and adverse heath affects are "unfounded" (Kewley, 1998, para. 4). Further, Kewley (1998) states that these kinds of rugs can be extraordinarily affective when it comes to controlling hyperactivity and impulse behavior. Boyd and Bee (2009) write that children who are taking Ritalin or other stimulant medication tend to be calmer and better able to concentrate on their academic pursuits. However, many of these drugs do not actually help students improve their grades, but simply lower their activity level and make it easier for them to concentrate. As such, the medication can help them improve their social situation and earn better grades if and only if the primary reason that they were having trouble was an inability to concentrate. Still, when medicated, children are a better fit with the classroom environment, making it easier for learning to come to them. Although LeFever, Dawson, and Marrow (1999) noted an increase in the use of such medications to treat adults, Boyd and Bee (2009) note that recent research links the use of Ritalin in adults to adverse physical affects such as heart attacks and strokes. In children medications other… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "ADD ADHD" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

ADD ADHD.  (2009, July 20).  Retrieved July 7, 2020, from

MLA Format

"ADD ADHD."  20 July 2009.  Web.  7 July 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"ADD ADHD."  July 20, 2009.  Accessed July 7, 2020.