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How School Systems Deal with Adhd

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Barstow College Randy Payne

Essay Six 29 May 03

Research Paper

How the Barstow Unified School District Deals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

And Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

I believe that children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be

(Masser, Creed, 1977)

I don't know what other people would think but I feel fortunate that two of my three sons have AD/HD. This has allowed me to be more involved in my son's education in a way I never knew. It's terrible to think that we let our children's minds go to waste without doing all we can as parents to help. Many children in today's schools are missing out on the education they so dearly deserve through no fault of their own. Parents are missing out on the greatest tool at their disposal. The Barstow Unified School District has a program that will assist in identifying children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), assist parents in developing an education program suited for this disorder, and provide guidance to parents in seeking medical assistance as well.

What are ADD and AD/HD? Dr. Linda Pfiffner defines these disorders as follows:

ADD and AD/HD are diagnostic terms that describe a diverse group of children who have problems with inattention, distractibility, and in many cases, impulsivity and over activity. These disorders are a serious problem affecting thousands of students every year. Students have trouble staying focused, listening, and completing work. Many create disruption in class by calling out, walking around the room during seatwork time, and socializing at inappropriate moments. While all children are inattentive, impulsive, or over active at times, for ADD and AD/HD children, these problems are much more extreme and enduring. (Qtd. in Pfiffner 13)

Teacher referrals are normally where the school system gets the first idea that a child may have an ADD or AD/HD problem. Parents are not good judges due to their day-to-day contact with their children and are less likely to recognize the symptoms. Parents will normally sit down with the teachers and try to figure out what could work to help the child get back on track. A determination can be made at this time as to whether the family would like for their child to see the school psychologist. The school psychologist can, in a sit down meeting with the child, usually determine within five minutes whether the child has ADD or AD/HD. Once the diagnosis has been made that the child has the disorder, the psychologist will administer some tests to determine where the child has the most difficulties. These tests can include but are not limited to hearing, reading, and comprehension. A lot of children with ADD or AD/HD will have problems with auditory processing because they cannot pay attention long enough to get the information clearly. A clear example of this is, if I give my son three directions such as, take the trash out, feed the dog and close the door, all it would take is one distraction, and some of these tasks may not be completed. Some children have visual processing deficits. They are not able to make sense of what they are seeing, such as dyslexia. Now what the parents do with the information, see their own medical doctor to look at medication, or whether they try diet to control the disorder is up to them. What works for one child does not always work for another.

Once the deficiencies are identified, the parents, teachers, and psychologist, to provide special education for the child, can put a plan together. The school system has what is called a Resource Specialist Program (RSP). This is either an in class program where a Resource Specialist will go into the class to help the child, or the child will be pulled out and given extra help during the school day. A lot of ADD and AD/HD children have difficulty organizing and speaking and somehow the quieter environment with a Resource Specialist will help. Usually the activities that the student has the most problems with are reading and comprehension. The school system has a program they can use in a small group to try and get them back on task and has fewer distractions.

Children who have fallen severely behind in their academics are usually the ones who benefit the most from the pull out program. These are usually the more severe children, the ones bouncing off walls, having a terrible time trying to pay attention. The school system may put them in a special day class. These classes will range in size from 15 to 16 students. These students receive special education all day with the services of a teacher and a special instructional aid. This type of program is less preferred. It requires restrictive placement and the school system



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