ADD/ADHD in education 

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ADHD can affect students in a plethora of ways. Image: ©    Child medicine photo    via Shutterstock. Thumbnail photo by    pina messina    on    Unsplash   .

ADHD can affect students in a plethora of ways. Image: © Child medicine photo via Shutterstock. Thumbnail photo by pina messina on Unsplash.

Schools tend to cater to all their students in one curriculum, which is difficult to maintain because kids tend to have different learning styles and needs. If the school system caters only to the majority of kids with the same learning needs, they will exclude and suppress the needs of other students and hinder their potential to succeed in academia.  

“Academically, it was noted that students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder underachieve compared to classroom peers. Behaviorally, they are described as students that generally act before they think, are impulsive, and are in constant motion (Barkley, 2013). ADHD students have difficulty paying attention, concentrating, following simple directives and completing assignments.” 

Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are sometimes overlooked as learning disabilities. Before the 42 percent increase in ADD and ADHD diagnoses , it was widely accepted that these conditions were just a myth, perhaps to allow students to get accommodations or extra help in school. While more people are getting diagnosed and treated for ADD and ADHD, there are still people who simply do not believe they exist.

When it comes to young students, parents are entitled to their opinions and may choose not to take their child to get diagnosed or medicated for ADD or ADHD. Schools, however, should be able to identify those students that show symptoms of ADD or ADHD and reach out to help and encourage them. This creates a much less frustrating primary school experience for those children, and it gives them confidence in their intellectual abilities which is a strong skill to have later in life.  

Since the goal of primary school is to help children establish effective foundational learning skills so they can grasp more difficult material in their academic futures, there should be a system in place to cater to kids that have trouble keeping up and paying attention, to help them build the learning they need, which may differ from those without ADD or ADHD. It is unfair to those students with attention difficulties to not have that helping hand in school. It puts them under pressure to keep up with the rest of their class when they cannot grasp material the same way or at the same speed as everyone else. This pressure, drives kids to seek medications for ADD or ADHD; it allows them to pay attention and be up to speed with the rest of their classmates without needing that extra help. 

Turning to medication to help a student with ADD or ADHD keep up with academic performance and meet expectations may not always be the most beneficial to the child in the long run. They tend to have growth-stunting and addictive effects, which can be damaging for children to be exposed to at a young age. Moreover, turning to medication to allow a child to meet academic expectations sends the message that without the medications, the child could not perform on their own. Because our society in general and the education system in practically created a very formed standards and expectations to evaluate the human behavior as its divided roughly to normal and abnormal, a child on ADD or ADHD medication would feel as though they belong in the “abnormal” category, which drives down self-esteem and confidence levels at a young age and impair the child’s motivation in the long run. 

“It is imperative that parents and teachers provide developmentally appropriate support and supervision for children with ADHD.” Because children spend most of their time in schools, educators must be able to identify children with ADD or ADHD symptoms and notify the parents to inform them and explore some options other than medications to help their child’s primary school experience become less frustrating.  


Keren Blaunstein is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at keren.blaunstein@uconn.edu.

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