ADHD Need Special Approach to Education
AScribe Newswire, July 5, 2005
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parents need to learn new methods to help children with
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to
a Purdue University educational researcher who pulled together
30 years of research in a new book.
"Fads and 'how-to lists' are more prevalent than methods based
on educational research," said Sydney S. Zentall, professor of
special education and psychological sciences in the College of
Education. "But because students who have ADHD spend the
majority of their time in general educational settings, it's
critical to get scientific information to the people who are
going to help them learn how to live in society."
Zentall's book, "ADHD and Education: Foundations,
Characteristics, Methods and Collaboration" ($28), will be
released by Merrill Education/Prentice Hall on July 13.
The three main symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity
and impulsivity, and may be displayed in the form of fidgeting,
failing to pay attention or misbehaving. These children are more
sensitive to the loss of stimulation and get bored easily,
"These are children with invisible disabilities. They look like
normal children, but often don't have adaptive mechanisms.
Teachers need to learn how to show these students ways to get
stimulated in more appropriate ways," Zentall said.
Part of the reason for the scarcity of information on ADHD in
textbooks is that it has not been categorized as a disability in
special education until recently, which limits the amount of
funding given to research in the area. Examples of other
disabilities are learning disabilities, behavioral/emotional
disabilities and mental retardation.
Because of the gap in data, teachers have had to rely on
treatments from research on learning or behavioral disabilities
that might not address the particular academic problems of
students with ADHD. Zentall encourages educators to learn how
different from these related areas so they can identify teaching
methods that target that population.
"When people observe a child with ADHD, they might be prone to
blame the behavior on bad parenting," Zentall said. "We want to
help them see that there's potential for people with these
characteristics, and we can start with educational options
Zentall lays the foundation in the book with a discussion on
legal issues and the limitations and controversies related to
this complex disorder. She features methods and strategies so
teachers can independently design their own practices, and
offers techniques on how to collaborate and consult with other
teachers, personnel and family members.
Zentall said the book is designed to help educators successfully
teach students with ADHD, but will appeal to a much wider
population because this disability touches so many people.
"A lot of successful people are ADHD," Zentall said. "My
research offers parents and children ways to tap into that
Zentall is an internationally recognized authority on
hyperactivity and ADHD. She developed a groundbreaking theory in
1975 called Optimal Stimulation Theory that suggested
hyperactive children might have a greater need for stimulation
and would benefit from a more active learning environment.
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