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    ADHD: The Troubled Disorder

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    Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has undergone intense researchin the past decade. Much of this is rooted in the fact that approximately 5% of childrenare affected with the disorder.

    Children with ADHD are identified as having increasedbehavioral difficulties because of excessive motor activities, poor self regulation andinattentiveness. It has been found that as many as 30% of children inflicted with ADHDhave learning disabilities with academic underachievement becoming a failure or bother inthe school system. Since these children do not meet the expectations of society and theirlearning environment they are usually met with anger, punishment, and rejection. In turnthese children develop a low-self esteem and low levels of motivation.

    The reason for ADHD is still a mystery to researchers. Within the field there aremany things that point to biological (genetic) and social causes. The idea seeks to explorecurrent research through investigating the social and bio-genetic influence of ADHD onchild intelligence. Testing and treatments of those with ADHD will also be discussed. Even though ADHD occurs in people of every intelligence, a majority of childrenaffected experience academic problems. These children may have specific learningdisabilities, such as dyslexia, or may have multiple learning problems.

    In a studycomparing ADHD children with those unaffected, those with the disorder performedsignificantly worse than the others. Learning disabilities can be said to arise fromattentional difficulties in the classroom setting. Many of these difficulties occur in taskswhere listening and time is a factor. Reading disabilities have also been found as a resultof ADHD. The attention span of someone with ADHD is usually shot in a controlledsetting they can hardly function, without distractions wich makes them sociablyunacceptable.

    Even though there is a higher prevalence of boys and those with low intelligencediagnosed, others with ADHD are impaired as well. Results have found that girls with thisdisorder face greater intellectual impairment, especially with picture vocabulary tasks, thanboys or control girls. There is also significant findings that the level of intelligence affectsADHD children in different ways. More specifically those with both ADHD and normalto high intelligence are more prone to accidents, and have a smaller number of steadyfriends.

    Children who were identified with low intelligence and ADHD were found tohave more behavioral and emotional problems in their adolescence. Long term studieshave found that the outcome of these children was continued academic problems andschool failures. However there is suggestion ADHD children show greater artistic abilitywhen writing or drawing slowly and precisely. Testing the intelligence of ADHD involves a number of measures. Psychoeducational testing is used to assess intellectual ability and to search for learningdisabilities.

    A new intelligence test has been created by Naglieri called the CognitiveAssessment System to help diagnose and measure ADHD intelligence. This test is basedon the premise that traditional tests don’t measure processes such as planning andattention, which is essential in testing and detecting ADHD students. There is inconsistentdata for the use of computerized tests of attention and vigilance for this purpose. In many cases the effects of ADHD on children’s intelligence is influenced bysocial factors. For instance studies show that symptoms become worse in situations whichare unstructured, minimally supervised, boring, or require sustained attention or mentaleffort.

    There is an opposite deflection in IQ scores when related with increased socialdisability scores. The same study looked at teacher perceptions, which showed that theless likable and more aggressive the child was, the lower the performance. In researchingverbal deficits in ADHD children scientists found many early intellectual problems linkedwith disruptive behavior such as hyperactivity and aggression. Data also shows that parental conflict, diminished family cohesion, and number ofparents psychiatrically ill during the child’s lifetime adversely affected intelligence scoreswich shows it has been mainly passed through genetics because these people passdissability’s through geans. The researchers conclude that a significant relation links IQand social functioning.

    A lot of other scientists have come up with similar tests and gottenthe same results. Six factors were listed from the family environment which correlatedwith ADHD children’s cognitive deficits. These include severe marital discord, low socialclass, large family size, paternal criminal record, maternal mental disorder and foster homeplacement. This study asserts that children with ADHD have a more “adaptable” IQ’s andare more adversely affected.

    Some scientist’s argue that family size is of no significance. When investigating parental style and family influence on ADHD IQ levels, Scientist’sreport that little evidence exists. Poor school achievement for ADHD children is also associated with the need forimmediate reinforcement. These children have been shown to perform as well as others insituations where consistent, immediate and positive reinforcement is in place. Rulegoverned behavior is additionally difficult for these students. Even when they understandthe rules, they do not follow through with correct behavior therefore the right socialenvironment is necessary.

    Diffrent studies have found that lower intelligence in ADHD children is not sociallymediated, but in fact rooted in genetics and human biology. In testing the families of thesechildren, it has been shown that siblings show increased learning disabilities and higherrates of ADHD. Family patterns show that approximately 20 to 30 percent of childrenwith ADHD have a parent or sibling with similar problems. There is the suggestion thatthese children inherit a type of nervous system which makes them prone to learningdisabilities.

    Data from family risk, adoption, and twin research are supportive of thisaspect. However recent research has indicated that ADHD and learning disabilities aretransmitted independently in families and that their occurrence is due to non-randommating. In looking at probands of parents, scientist’s conclude ADHD and learningdisabilities are independent, and rather due to random mating, therefore not etiologicallydependent. Other researchers claim the intellectual deficit lies in physiological anomalies. More specifically, imbalance in the neurotransmitter systems of the brain, dysfunction inthe reticular activating system, or a lag in brain development.

    In determining if theneurocogonitive characteristic in individuals with resistance to thyroid hormone (RTH) aresimilar to those with ADHD, researchers have found that children with RTH have likedeficient achievement levels as those with ADHD. There is also evidence that epinephrine(EPI) levels are lower in ADHD children. Urinary EPI levels are inversely related tofidgeting and aggression for second grade ADHD students. During intelligence testing,results have shown that these EPI levels during a cognitive challenge is at least 40 percent lower than controls.

    In a study which had subjects enhance beta activity in activity duringcognitive testing, those with ADHD improved in intelligence testing. Improvements wereassumed to be a result of attention enhancement affected by biofeedback Investigating effectiveness of treatments of ADHD learning disabilities allowsadditional information on the social and bio-genetic causes of academic underacheivementrelated with this disorder. It has been stated that both instruction and contingencymanagement is necessary to remedy academic deficits. Some techniques include classrules, attention to positive behavior, as well as time out and response cost programs. Suggested to compliment and further increase probability of improvement is the alliance ofparents, patient and school with the consideration of individual needs for the student andsubsequently accommodating the environment to these needs.

    Scales such as theAcademic Performance Rating Scale or daily report cards are useful in monitoringperformance. Cognitive behavioral interventions have also been shown to have a positive effectin academic achievement. Interventions such as self instructional training, problem solvingtraining, attribution retraining and stress reduction procedure work as well. For some butnot all these methods of interventions have not been widely implemented in treatment ofADHD children.

    Many children are segregated into learning disability classes separatefrom other students. It is essential tutoring and resources be made for the child however,many are able to learn at the same level with the other children. It has been found thatmany ADHD children are inappropriately placed in special education programs for thelearning disabled. This is mainly because of social improvement, so extremes are notnecessary. A percentage of ADHD students do exhibit normal intelligence but are sociallyinept.

    Therefore careful testing and diagnoses is imperative for the improvement of theseyouths. And by failing to provide interventions for their behavior problems, they maybecome restricted in their opportunities for academic success. It is quite often found that the majority of ADHD children improve withpsychopharmaceuticals, specifically stimulants such as Ritalin, Aderal, Dexedrine orothers. Results reveal that medication related improvements include increased workoutput improved accuracy and efficiency and better learning benefits.

    Learning andachievements in math, reading, and fine motor skills improve as well. There is a 70 to 90percent response rate to stimulants. These results are quite dramatic in short term, butlong term efficacy is still questioned. There is a lot of agreement in literature that acombination of treatment types is best to improve academic deficits. The cornerstones oftreatment are support, education of parents, appropriate school placement, andpsychopharmacology (medications). In reviewing the current literature on how intelligence is affected by ADHD, it iseasy to see that it is a subject yet to be firmly defined.

    Intelligence tests have beenerroneously analysed in diagnosing and categorizing ADHD children and new tests mustbe developed to find the level and intensity to their disorder. The current increase inADHD children seems somewhat suspicious. The possibilitys are endless for the analisysthe problem enstated by most is the parents probably never got treated for ADHD and itkeeps getting passed through genetics, and people are finding out more about it andfinding they show the effects. The stimulant Ritalin is being overly diagnosed as a quickfix when they need to use programs too for a treatment. There must be much morebehavioral and parental/school attention unity in order for this epidemic of hyper childrento be stoped and treated.

    Intelligence and ADHD have been linked in twin and adoptionstudies to family so people are not sure but, these studies could still be testing completelydifferent things. Other studies also have found links in hyperactivity and affect to geneticdispositions in the central nervous system. In testing it is hard to determine if it is geneticor environmental due to the fact that many with ADHD can also be without learningdisorders. Therefore, if we are to label this as a disease a bio-social scientific approach isnecessary in diagnosis, treatment and intelligence assessment.

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    ADHD: The Troubled Disorder. (2019, Jan 18). Retrieved from

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