ADD & ADHD in the Classroom

More stories from Sam Davis

There is a common misconception that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is just an excuse for not paying attention. However, according to the CDC, around 6.4 million children suffer from ADD/ADHD. The main place this disorder affects children is in the classroom.

  Some symptoms of ADD/ADHD are inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Yet, those aren’t always the symptoms, and don’t always indicate such a disorder. ADD/ADHD is usually first discovered only after the student has failed in class because of engagement problems. This is a big problem because it takes awhile for a student to find the best remedy, and once behind in school, it is highly challenging for a student to catch up with their peers. “I have ADHD and it’s hard for me to focus,” said freshman Bailey Johnson. “My ADHD isn’t that bad, but when I was in elementary school, I had to take medicine everyday. After awhile it got better so I didn’t have to take anymore medicine. The biggest problem was easily not being focused while in class.”

  As of right now, there is no cure for ADD/ADHD, and the only thing medicines can do is help control the symptoms of the disorders. Most medications that are used are stimulants, and these medications can have negative effects on the one taking it. There is a plethora of medications used but the most common are: Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, and Vyvanse. For those with either ADD or ADHD, the medicines are very helpful. “My medication has easily helped me 100 percent,” said senior Tyler Hazard. “When I was off my medication, I had a 3.2 GPA. When I was on my medication, I had a 4.22 GPA.” When the correct medicine is used for a student who suffers from one of these disorders, it can work wonders. However, there are risks involved with pharmaceutical treatments- there have been studies showing that taking a stimulant medication may have hinder the development of a student’s brain . Not only that, but there is also an issue of addiction. This is even more of a concern since stimulant abuse is growing severely, especially in teens and young adults.

  ADD/ADHD can be one of the worst disorders when left untreated. When nothing is done, the academic and social effects of the disorders become even worse over time. Inversely however, there is a rising problem of misdiagnosis amongst students and children. Parents begin to think that if their kid is struggling early on in elementary school, then their kid may suffer from ADD/ADHD. The misdiagnosis’ that continue to happen is one major cause of the addiction mentioned earlier. “I wouldn’t say misdiagnosis is a rising problem but it has always been a problem,”  said psychologist Michelle Darter. “The main issue is when another mental disorder symptoms seem to be those of ADHD. Once a student is given the medicine, that medicine won’t really do much because those medicines are designed for ADHD and ADHD only. Sometimes this may even cause the symptoms to be worse.”

  Teaching kids with ADD/ADHD is no easy task. A lot of teachers struggle with controlling students, and they just don’t know how to help. “I think it’s helpful when some routine is established and structure,” said English teacher Lindsay Fitzgerald. “It helps a lot when they know the guidelines and expectations. It’s difficult for someone with ADHD to do projects when they don’t get the guidelines and stuff before the project.”  Many younger students that suffer from one of these disorders may require more attention and extra help. Students suffering from ADD or ADHD face many struggles while at school.