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.