Is There a Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

Let me begin by saying, that, there is disagreement among experts as to whether there is a difference between ADD and  ADHD. Since that is the case, let us look at what each side says, assess the evidence we have based on the behaviours we see in our homes, our schools, or any other place where a form of the problem is manifested, and arrive at an intelligent decision. Disagreement among experts on any issue is not new. There are usually many positions to issues as misunderstood as neurological disorders. 

What we know is ADHD shows hyperactive tendencies, while ADD expresses a slow processing ability. In both cases, attention deficit is at the center of the individual’s processing ability. The brain is not providing the energy required for normal functioning. In one case, the information that the brain receives is very disorganized and can be ambiguous. That confusion of information takes times to sort in an organized fashion. It causes the person to lag behind others who are functionally “normal.” As a child continues to fall behind his or her peers, the brain is beset with more information as the child attempts to understand a worsening dilemma. As one difficulty leads to another, frustration, doubt, embarrassment, shame, and several other emotions converge and add to the episodes going on in the brain. The overwhelming stress is too much to manage.

An ADHD diagnosis suggest that a child can be on the one hand very challenging and on the other hand very loving, delightful, thoughtful, and caring. Socially, these children find it difficult to make and keep friends, have a poor sense of self, find difficulty getting along with teachers and other adults. They can become depressed and may often seem to be quite rude, insensitive, anxious, and unwilling.

The brain is the organ that regulates all functions of the body. Children with ADHD experience brain functionality that is grossly inefficient. As the brain receives information, it is unable to move the messages along to the various parts of the body on time. This can cause inattention, inaction, inappropriate and argumentative behaviour, and  a rash of school related problems, among them, sleepiness in class and problems retrieving information from stored memory.

There are some clear differences between ADD and ADHD as the manifestations show. If these disorders are similar, then, using the same approach in treating them is okay. However, if they are different, it reminds me of what Abraham Maslow said, that, if the ony tool you use is a hammer, then every problem begins to look like a nail.

The lives of our children are too precious for us not to take every precaution to be certain that we explore every conceivable and available way to deal with their ailment. A good place to begin to support our children is to transform the schools in which they are educated. Our current schools are not suited to deal with students who suffer from neurological disorders. Until that is addressed, I can see no improvement on the distant horizon.

I will discuss some ideas around teaching and learning that must change if our children will have the slightest of hope improving their social and academic lives.


Why Students See School Dull

What did you learn in school today, Johnny? Nothing! Do you have any homework? No! But, Sally said she has homework. How is it Sally has homework and you do not and both of you are in the same class? Oh, yea! I’ll do it later.
are excited about learning. Students do not feel that they are engaged in what is of interest or importance to them. They feel that they are forced to “dumb down” to keep pace with the archaic approaches of the past that many teachers use in their methods of instruction.

There is a huge difference in the information to which students are exposed today compared with students of twenty-five or fifteen years ago. Children are growing up in a rapidly changing multimedia environment. Changes that children see in the short span of a year are more than what their parents may have seen in a generation. It is the paradox of parents and children living in the same age but in different worlds. As such, children do not understand their parents and parents unable to understand their children are caught in what I call the 21st century enigma of family relationship.

On the compelling force of this difficult relationship, are teaching and learning approaches that do not fit the needs of today’s students. Teaching is often done in a way that reflects classrooms of the nineteen eighties and earlier. A look at the details of school curricula shows very little change in the core material that students are expected to learn. For example, the study of Medieval Times is a mainstay in the social science curriculum for Grade 4 students. I am not certain of the importance of this study to current world issues; to the things that affect children today.

There is enough awareness among teachers of the necessity to change their practice to fit the changing needs of present-day students and to prepare lessons with the varied styles by which students learn in mind. It is fundamentally wrong to teach a child in a style other than that by which he or she learns. To do so teaching malpractice, pure and simple.

Students will continue to see schools as dull until educators come to the point of recognizing that adjustments must be made to support students in their world. It is a hard job that becons dedicated educators. Others must seek employment elsewhere.

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So Your Child Is Diagnsed With ADHD?

So what?

A diagnosis of ADHD (attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) is not uncommon to a few people. Estimates show that there are about 2 million children of school age in America that suffer from ADHD.It is believed that in every classroom across North America, there can be found at least one child who is suffering from poor grades and an inability to pursue adequate social relationships.

It is not known how ADHD comes about. However, it should be understood that ADHD has absolutely nothing to do with genetics. The National Institute of Health Consensus Development and the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2000, that ADHD had not identified genetic basis. Parents have not done anything to cause a child to have developed ADHD attributes. It is also not a learning disability. In fact, ADHD acts like a barrier that interferes with an individual’s ability to be attentive and therefore leads to poor social relationships and work habits.

Now what?

Experts have formulated solutions that can be tried to support parents and help ADHD sufferers overcome their situation. It is also very important for teachers to learn as much as they can about the disability so that they can better relate to students that suffer from ADHD and be more ready in lesson planning and differentiation of subject. For, to misunderstand ADHD or to have very little or no knowledge of it, is to add to the confusion and frustration that sufferers have.

A rush to use drugs as a quick fix for ADHD sufferers is strongly discouraged. If the long-term effects of any drug is not known, it is unwise to administer such a drug to a child. Although there are overarching desires for students to be able to improve their grades, there is no certainty that drugs would do that. A study in Vol. 52, No. 8, August 2003, journal of Family Practice, Louis McCormick, M.D., wrote: “While psycho stimulants showed a short-term decrease in symptoms, they did not improve grades.”

A study at a university in Ohio found that ADHD diagnosed students who engaged in Karate exercises were found to be better able to control their focus and behaviours more than similar students who did not engage in related sports. Provide activity that engages all the child’s thinking and movement; add variety and personal interest projects and be supportive and patient. The child is not willfully and intentionally behaving inappropriately to cause anyone harm.

Get your child active and celebrate the improvements!
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