I plan on narrowing my blogs focus on children with complex needs. If I get into the Education program, fingers crossed, I plan on becoming an elementary school teacher. I believe that by focusing on various cognitive obstacles some kids face and establishing a better understanding of these obstacles will make me a better educator in the future. The obstacles I am referring to are conditions such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder teacher (ADHD), which I will be focusing on in this blog.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity and sometimes even impulsivity. It often begins and is diagnosed in childhood and on average 2 out of 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms well into adulthood.

Looking at a study that took 27 young adolescents with ADHD and compared them to a sample of 18 participants without ADHD. The study aimed to examine whether the impairment in peer functioning and social-cognitive deficits, so things like problem solving and social comprehension, found in elementary school children also occurred in adolescence. The stud also looked at providing evidence that these deficits cause functional impairments in social domains.

The study looked at both parent and peer reports of adolescent social functioning, and reports suggest that individuals with ADHD continue to experience difficulties with peers into the adolescent years.

This obviously will have a huge impact on the child’s learning because socializing and having positive peer relationships is critical in learning development, the study pointed out that these finding were congruent with social comprehension and problem-solving deficits.

The study also found a link between functional impairment and social cognition.

ADHD doesn’t just effect the child in their intellectual lives, it doesn’t just effect their success in school but their social lives as well.

I also found another article that dove into the deficits to their social lives, specifically deficits to peer relationships. Peer relationships being the primary context in which children learn cooperation, negotiation, and conflict resolution – skills that are all critical for effective social functioning throughout our social lives, can have devastating effects to children with ADHD.

Childhood peer problems can also predict a wide variety of outcomes such as academic difficulties, substance abuse, delinquency etc.

Not only can the child not focus in class due to symptoms of ADHD, problems with peer relationships can also negatively effect their academics.

The best form of treatment is stimulant medications and social skills training with behavioral contingency management, these two treatments combined are very effective. Just putting a child on medication for ADHD isn’t enough.

The article stressed the importance of children with ADHD having positive successful peer relationships, as this can greatly benefit and lessen the social deficits constituted by ADHD.

However, making a child’s peers aware that they suffer from ADHD proved to have negative consequences. A study actually found that if a child with ADHD had peers that were aware of their chronic condition had a negative experience within social interactions as their peers are significantly less friendly and talked marginally less compared to social interactions with a child who unknowingly had ADHD. Therefore assigning a child an EA (educational assistant) can cause the child to be an outcast as well as make their condition known.

Your best bet for a child with ADHD is medication, social skills training, keep their condition hidden, and help cater a positive and successful peer relationship.


Sibley M. H., Evans S. W., & Serpell Z. N. (2010). Social Cognition and Interpersonal Impairment in Young Adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 32(2), 193–202.

Pediatr A. (2007) Peer Functioning in Children with ADHD. 7(1), 101-106.



4 thoughts on “ADHD in Adolescence and Social Cognition

  1. Great topic choice. I really like why you believe it’s important to learn about ADHD, being informed on this subject is crucial as it impacts a lot of people. This can have an enormous impact on one’s cognitive abilities as well as you’ve mentioned. Particularly in the area of education, I feel like that’s one of the critical ones, being at a loss of focus. And if you’re not focused chances are your not succeeding in your school work. This is just one of the more severe cognitive abilities I feel as it can determine your future if the proper treatment is not sought out. As you were discussing you would like to be a teacher I found this supplementary article which also correlates with your choice of occupation and ADHD. This is titled “Teachers’ judgments of the academic achievement of children with and without characteristics of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.” In this article, a study was done on 72 Elementary students – 30 with ADHD and 42 without. “the current study examined the accuracy of teachers’ judgments on curriculum-based measures (CBM) of reading, math, and writing for students with and without characteristics of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.” (Jenkins, 2016). This study I found super interesting as it reflects on teachers and since children are so impressionable at a young age it is important future educators learn the disorders children can have and make sure it’s fair for them.

    Jenkins, L. N. (06.2016). Contemporary school psychology: Teachers’ judgments of the academic achievement of children with and without characteristics of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity California Association of School Psychologists. doi:10.1007/s40688-015-0073-7


  2. Interesting topic! One of my good friends has ADHD, and I remember being in class with him when we were young was always a little hectic because he simply could not sit still!
    DuPaul, Weyandt & Janusis (2011) present some behavioural intervention strategies to help children with ADHD succeed in the classroom. The researchers note that things like posting classroom rules in close proximity to a child with ADHD and praising them when they follow the rules will aid the students in the classroom. Additionally, they note that modifying the length or content of assignments may help to cater to the student’s attention span. Personally, I’m not sure that such a move would benefit the student in the long run.
    Dupaul, Weyandt & Janusis (2011) also explain that allowing children with ADHD to be given options when selecting things like assignments or task goals all while guiding them to a particular goal. Their argument is that by allowing students choice (or the illusion of choice), students were much more engaged in their assignments.


    – DuPaul, G. J., Weyandt, L. L., & Janusis, G. M. (2011). ADHD in the classroom: Effective intervention strategies. Theory Into Practice, 50, 35-42.


  3. from personal experience, I can tell you that with peer and social interaction, it is defiantly difficult. The reason there is hyper activity and impulsivity is because ADHD primarily affects the prefrontal lobe which is responsible for planning and control in the motor cortex. Due to this “defect” ADHD affects social skills and relationships because of the following: it can be difficult for children and adults to notice subtle social cues, causing difficulty in making friends. when you make friends, it can be difficult to mint those friendships, because of your impulsivity, you tend to be more hyper, intense and demanding without realizing it. This also impacts your conversational skills, because you have so many thoughts occurring, it can be difficult to communicate with people and to even at times hold a conversation. (this is highly impacted in adulthood, where you have trouble communicating with others with ultimately impacts your self-esteem, and self-confidence. with relationships, people with ADHD are prone to unpredictable temperaments and tend to blow situations out of proportion. Because of prefrontal lobe defects, you tend to be less predictable than most which other people tend to think that you are unreliable or lazy. In terms of intelligence, people with ADHD tend to be underestimated with their IQ, which can lead to a label that one applies to one’s self and sticks into adulthood, this is because of a stigma of not paying attention which is mistaken for stupid or lazy. with ADHD, it can be difficult to deal with and stiffens self-esteem and self-confidence but when you have ADHD you have unlimited energy, so when working on something, you can keep going past most people. Because you are hyperactive you can notice a lot more than most people so you can which can develop in creative skills which is why people say that ADHD people are creative.

    to have ADHD and another disorder like anxiety, depression or ODD can be a double negative, when one have depression, it’s like their positive effects of ADHD is also taken away by depression. with ODD, is often seen as being defiant or deviant which in adulthood is frowned upon. and with Anxiety, you take the high energy and non-stop going ability and replace it with fear, so you have high active fear. these leads to further stigma that go into adulthood.

    For medication and treatment of ADHD, leads to one of the biggest issues of treatment. as a child, ADHD was treated with a magic pill. where any treatment that should occur is medication. THIS IS FALSE!!!! As a child, medication should be one of the last lines of treatment. with children who have ADHD they lack any social skills, discipline or control. conditioning, behavior modification therapy and structure are key. this will advance a child further than just being constantly told to take a magic pill. in the 90’s and early 2000’s Ritalin was considered the “magic pill” that was used to make troublesome students easier to deal with for both the teacher, students, and parents. this lead to an increase on obesity because of this magic pill method. this treatment also lead to substance abuse because as adults no social skills were developed, and they were so reliant on medication because they grew up thinking into the magic pill idea, so medication was heavily relied on as adults, which lead to other substances being introduced to combat other social skill defects that weren’t learned.

    One of my favorite videos that I share with people illustrates how difficult it is to have ADHD.


    Hinshaw, S. & Scheffler, R. The ADHD explosion (1st ed.).

    Mayes, S. & Calhoun, S. (2017). Learning, Attention, Writing, and Processing Speed in Typical Children and Children with ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from

    Morin, A. (2017). 5 Ways ADHD Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life. Understood.org. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/5-ways-adhd-can-affect-your-childs-social-life

    NADDER, T., RUTTER, M., SILBERG, J., MAES, H., & EAVES, L. (2002). Genetic effects on the variation and covariation of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional-defiant disorder/conduct disorder (ODD/CD) symptomatologies across informant and occasion of measurement. Psychological Medicine, 32(01). http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0033291701004792

    Nelson, A. & Galon, P. (2012). Exploring the Relationship Among ADHD, Stimulants, and Substance Abuse. Journal Of Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 25(3), 113-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6171.2012.00322.x

    Ohan, J., Visser, T., Moss, R., & Allen, N. (2013). Parents’ Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Psychiatric Labels for ADHD and Depression. Psychiatric Services, 64(12), 1270-1273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201200578

    Rydell, A. (2009). Family factors and children’s disruptive behaviour: an investigation of links between demographic characteristics, negative life events and symptoms of ODD and ADHD. Social Psychiatry And Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45(2), 233-244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-009-0060-2

    Swords, L., Hennessy, E., & Heary, C. (2011). Adolescents’ beliefs about sources of help for ADHD and depression. Journal Of Adolescence, 34(3), 485-492. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.06.002

    Waring, M. & Lapane, K. (2008). Overweight in Children and Adolescents in Relation to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Results From a National Sample. PEDIATRICS, 122(1), e1-e6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2007-1955

    Yen, J., Ko, C., Yen, C., Wu, H., & Yang, M. (2007). The Comorbid Psychiatric Symptoms of Internet Addiction: Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depression, Social Phobia, and Hostility. Journal Of Adolescent Health, 41(1), 93-98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.02.002


  4. The stigma around children with special needs is very real and creates extra challenges around certain disorders. One of my good friends has dyslexia and told me that while he was in school, he was treated normally until he was given an aid and put in certain classes for children with special needs. While I have worked with kids with special needs and recognize that extra help and tailored education can be beneficial, my friend with dyslexia told me that as soon as he was singled out, he lost all of his friends at school and was further stigmatized. My friend is convinced that if he had not been labeled and singled out, he would’ve had a much better experience in secondary education and had a better chance at continuing his education. The article you referenced confirms that negative reputations that develop within peer groups can create self-fulfilling prophecies and send children into a downward spiral after peer rejection and exclusion. Interventions can leave the child no better off than before the intervention because of the negative stigma that comes with it. Therefore, labeling children according to their disorder can elicit negative responses from peer groups.

    Pediatr A. (2007) Peer Functioning in Children with ADHD. 7(1), 101-106.


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