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Learning Disabilities - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder /
Attention Deficit Disorder
What is ADHD?
ADHD is different to a
learning disability, although it is a cause of learning problems in
children simply because the symptoms and behaviors of it result in the
student not being able to concentrate for any significant length of
a neurologically-based disorder caused by a deficiency of a
specific neurotransmitter (norepinephrine and/or its precursors, dopa
and dopamine) in a specific set of brain circuits. Depending on which
areas of these circuits are involved, the individual might be
hyperactive, distractive, or impulsive. Hyperactivity might involve up
and down, fidgety, squirmy, wiggly behavior or might show only as
fidgety hand movements. The distractibility might be to sound inputs,
visual inputs, and/or to internal thoughts. Impulsivity might involve
speaking before thinking, thus interrupting or calling out or might
involve acting before thinking."
Larry Silver, MD, LDonline.com
It's important to know
that ADHD is the term used for ADD and ADHD - they are the same thing.
ADHD is the term doctors use to diagnose this condition.
Diagnosing ADHD can be tricky because the behaviors of hyperactivity,
impulsivity and inattention are also symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Physicians diagnosing ADHD will look at the pattern of clinical history
to help determine whether ADHD is present. If the behaviors are present
only in certain settings or they occurred at a specific time, then
anxiety and depression are the likely cause. If the behaviors have
been there since birth and they occur in all settings, a diagnosis of
ADHD can be established.
Treatment for ADHD involves raising the
level of the deficient neurotransmitter by using
medications such as
Adderall or decreasing the breakdown of the this
transmitter so that it stays around in the brain for a longer time.
Different medications such as imipramine, desipramine,
nortriptyline will accomplish this.
Practical ideas for
There are many practical things that
teachers can do to help students with ADHD concentrate and focus in the
classroom. Here we've linked to some articles that you might find
Classroom Success for the LD and ADHD Child
by Suzanne H Stevens shows how some simple
adjustments can be in the classroom can lead to success for the child
Checklists for Teachers by Sandra Rief provides lots of
practical tips on getting, focusing and maintaining students attention -
her best advice is to lighten up and have a little fun!