Understanding ADD and ADHD
First, it is important to understand ADD and ADHD and how they can be identified. Within the classroom, a teacher may encounter a student who constantly squirms in their seat, stares out the window, and has a desk that is a complete mess. These are not poor students who do not care about school and learning. Often these students may be undiagnosed cases of Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. These students can often be disruptive to themselves and the students around them, which causes serious educational problems. For this reason it is important for these students to be identified and to have their condition treated. Also, if untreated for a long period of time, the student?s self esteem and feeling of competence may be severely damaged (D?Alonzo, 1996).
Untreated cases of attention disorders can be spotted through certain symptoms. These symptoms include short attention span, daydreaming, low frustration tolerance, poor planning ability, disorganization, constantly displaying inappropriate behavior, and a multitude of others (Copeland & Love, 1992). If a teacher encounters a student in their classroom and feel that he or she may have an attention disorder, there are certain steps one should follow to initiate effective and appropriate treatment of the student. First, one should take time to organize a list of behaviors and problems of the student that cause concern. Next one should gather information about the student?s behavior by observing them. These observations should be recorded and kept for future reference. Then gather information on the student including previous test scores, medical reports, past teacher?s remarks, and so on. After this, one should meet with the student to discuss concerns and explain that the purpose of the meeting is so he/she can be better understood. Set goals together with the student and give the new plan a try for about one week. If problems continue, one should explain to the student that he or she is doing a great job of trying but more help is needed (Copeland & Love, 1992)
At this point, one should schedule a conference with the student?s parents. It may also be helpful to invite the school principle and/or guidance counselor. At the meeting the teacher and parents should develop a strategy to address certain behaviors. For two weeks, the program should be tested at home and school with constant communication between teacher and parents. After the two weeks a follow up meeting should be scheduled. At this time it is usually apparent if a referral to a professional is necessary or not. If a referral is needed, parents should talk to counselors or special education personnel at the school. Once a professional is contacted, the teacher should share their observations and concerns as a way of assisting in the evaluation of the student. Once diagnosed, the ADD/ADHD student meets with a psychiatrist in most cases, to...