Understanding ADHD can make a world of difference for children with this developmental difference. They are just as intelligent and creative as other students, but may need extra support to do their best. Providing that support starts by learning how to assess and address ADHD while fighting bias.
The best help for a child is an early assessment. The sooner ADHD is evaluated and diagnosed, educators and parents can create a plan for that child’s success. Look for signs of inattention, hyperactivity or both. These can include:• Trouble remembering things• Difficulty staying on task• Challenges with getting organized• Inability to stay still• Excessive fidgeting• Lack of impulse control and more.
For younger children, having at least six or more symptoms can be enough for confirmation of ADHD.
To truly determine if these issues amount to ADHD, regular assessments starting as young as age four are helpful. Special education teachers and clinicians can use ADHD tools such as the (ADHDT-2) Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Test to evaluate students sooner and more accurately.
Once teachers and parents have a confirmed an ADHD diagnosis for a child, the focus shifts to finding methods to manage their symptoms. According to the CDC there are two main options: therapy and medication.
Therapy focuses on changing some of the disruptive behaviors that come with ADHD. A doctor will work with the child and their parents to identify unproductive actions while reinforcing positive behavior and messages. These steps give the child tools to self-regulate and find strategies that work.
In certain situations, a therapist may recommend medication. Stimulants are the most common types of medicines used to treat ADHD. Researchers believe these drugs increase dopamine in the brain, calming the mind and making it easier to focus. There are also non-stimulant options for children who may not do well on the more common medicines.
Reducing ADHD Bias
Another aspect of helping people with ADHD is preventing bias that would prevent someone from seeking the resources they need. At times even children are taught that developmental differences are bad or shameful. These attitudes get in the way of creating plans that work for students with ADHD.
Educators also have to overcome gender bias in the diagnosis process. Researchers have found that certain social expectations make ADHD harder to recognize in girls and women, leaving them underdiagnosed and under-treated.
People may have a different bias when it comes to age and ADHD. While assessments for children are common, adults can also receive a diagnosis. Evaluations such as the (CAARS) Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales are used for adults to see if they would benefit from an ADHD treatment plan or medication.
Having a learning difference like ADHD can seem like an enormous obstacle, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the most effective learning and behavior management methods will make all the difference. The key to success is early intervention. See how WPS can help kids in school with assessment tools today.