How Attention Deficit Disorder Affects Students
Running into the classroom, Brad realizes his homework is not in his backpack again. As he takes his seat, the teacher, passing out graded tests, keeps looking at him as he flips through crumpled papers and keeps moving around in his chair. When he looks at his graded exam she places on his desk, Brad exclaims, “Oh no, not again!" He failed another test.
Brad’s story is characteristic of students whom teachers may dismiss as unmotivated, undisciplined, or lazy. The truth is, like many students with these behaviors, Brad has attention deficit disorder (ADD). Although he tries to sit still and pay attention in class, he is unable to do so.
On average, ADD affects at least one child out of ten in every United States classroom, adding up to approximately two million students. The diagnosis of ADD is given to children who consistently display behaviors of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Inattention includes the difficulty of concentrating on any one subject or activity at a time, particularly if the task is boring or repetitive. Inattentive students may easily pay attention to something they enjoy, but find organizing and completing tasks and learning new concepts challenging. Hyperactivity causes children to constantly fidget, squirm, or talk excessively. They may run or climb in inappropriate settings, and have difficulties playing quietly and resting. Impulsivity leads students to act without thinking, blurt out answers in class without raising a hand or waiting for a turn, and guess without taking the time to think about problems and solve them.
Not all children with the disorder, however, display these behaviors. Some children may show the typical signs of hyperactivity, running around constantly and bouncing from one activity to another, while others sit quietly, appearing to be lost in space. Likewise, others may be able to pay attention fairly consistently, but struggle to control their impulses.