Approximately 5-7 percent of children between the ages of 3-17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is the most common mental illness in children. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014, p. 1; Brown, 2007) According to top researchers, ADHD is a neurobiological disorder involving the developmental delay of executive functions. (Loo & Barkley, 2005; Barkley 1997; Brown, 2006, p. 36) It is generally accepted that early intervention is the key to effective treatment. Many children are not diagnosed until adolescents after many of their early academic struggles have begun and they are already discouraged. The most recent brain development research shows concrete evidence of the brain’s neuroplasticity (Doidge, 2007) as well as how the student’s attitude and mindset impact their ability to learn. (Yeager & Dweck, 2012) In addition to the science of the brain and ADHD, the Adlerian model of encouragement and social interest is very applicable when working with children, especially those with special needs. (Adler, 1988) Early intervention with psychological and academic tools and techniques designed to assist elementary students will help them develop strong foundational skills for learning and set them on a path for greater school success. (Abikoff et al., 2012) The goal of the interventions outlined in the presentation is to equip parents and teachers to help students develop a greater understanding of their own disability, provide tools and encouragement to support self-advocacy, set up interventions that develop neural pathways and habits for learning and ultimately create a greater chance for success for individuals with ADHD.
ADHD Interventions for Elementary School Children
Judith A. Richardson-Mahre
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