ADHD and Autism

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Attention Deficit

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ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder

ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder affects approximately 5–10% of school-age children and about 4% of adults. The disorder is not yet entirely understood, with boys diagnosed three times as often as girls. Known parental contributors to ADHD include genetics, use of alcohol, drugs, and cigarette-smoking during pregnancy. Environmental factors play a role, primarily low birth weight, drinking and/or bathing in lead-tainted water, ingesting processed-food additives, and suffering brain injury. Common symptoms are inattention, hyperactivity, and poor impulse control, all of which disrupt normal development. Those with ADHD can display any or all of these symptoms.

Attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity are difficult to comprehend, let alone manage. Both are as likely to induce boredom as they are agitation and other symptoms. Children tending toward ADHD's attention-deficit aspect, even without hyperactivity, fail to retain information during lessons and score poorly. Frustration with processes and subject matter in the classroom can result in scribbling/doodling, back-and-forth rocking, repeated posture shifting, or outright verbal disruption of lesson discussions.

In response to these challenges, Academic Assessment considers the unique characteristics of ADHD students, its goal one of designing and implementing teaching methods tailored to the individual's "learning style." For example, a child with hyperactivity who finds focusing on text difficult might show marked improvement by switching to lessons employing pictures, and/or animated visuals in cyber-linked classrooms. With time, this visual learning style will familiarize the student with the subject matter, and render text-oriented materials less intimidating.

Autism is a neurobehavioral disorder affecting mostly boys, and can develop as early as ages 6 to 18 months. Although there exist no specific tests for the complex disorder, it impairs social interaction and, consequently, normal learning of language and communication skills. Like ADHD, autism spectrum disorder manifests a literal spectrum of symptoms, some of which include impressive skills like playing a musical instrument, painting and drawing, mathematics, and strangely vivid poetry. Unfortunately, other manifestations include uttering of patterned, or repetitive, sounds and phrases, consuming non-food substances such as dirt and clay, or making intrusive gestures. Life for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder often is a mix of boredom, difficulty expressing and explaining feelings to others, avoidance of most people and their baffling emotions, and enduring taunts and their effects on development from schoolmates and children closer to home.

Well-informed, dedicated teachers can make life-changing differences for these children and their parents. As noted earlier in this article, Academic Assessment has proved successful. An increasing number of schools now consider specialized needs, such as seating students with ADHD near the classroom's front away from the door, providing folders with organizing tabs, and changing or streamlining assigned materials. There are also programs offered for qualified students, including mentoring and tutoring. Combined with loving, patient care at home, embracing and cultivating special talents whenever they are seen to emerge, can provide virtually normal lives for those with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.



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