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He must have a reasonable amount of stick-to-itiveness and patience to tolerate difficult tasks; if he gives up immediately, learning will obviously be impaired. And... The ADHD child is both inattentive and readily frustrated. The learning problems are further complicated because they tend to move in vicious circles; they often snowball. (Wender, 2000, p. 22)
Another related aspect is that unless the problems that the student is experiencing are related to his or her ADHD condition, the student may become demotivated as a result of poor performance and criticism. This can lead to other learning issues and even to serious related problems such as the loss of self -worth and self-esteem. This will in turn impact again on the learning ability of the student.
There are numerous studies which attest to the relationship between ADHD and learning problems. In a study by Maynard et al. (1999) it was found that students with ADHD are "...more disabled academically and cognitively than those without ADD." (Maynard, Tyler & Arnold, 1999, p. 183) This study also emphasizes that the disorder can have a negative effect not only on educational and school achievements but "... limits functional ability in other environments as well." (Maynard, Tyler & Arnold, 1999, p. 183)
Research also indicates that about half those children who are diagnosed with ADHD have coordination problems. This can also have a profound impact on achievement and learning ability. (Wender, 2000, p. 24) "Handwriting is often terrible and the ADHD child perceives writing as a chore. The combination of poor coordination and failure to plan can lead to an illegible written page, with words overrunning lines, the sides of the page, and each other." (Wender, 2000, p. 24)
ADHD can also impact on reading abilities and skills. ADHD students can have "... phonological processing deficits or linguistic deficiencies that are predictive of reading disabilities." (Maynard, Tyler & Arnold, 1999, p. 183) Reading difficulties can lead to problems in language processing and acquisition - and subsequently affect the overall learning process.
Research shows clearly that the ADHD student has more learning difficulties that the non-ADHD student. While ADHD is a continuing and growing problem, what is possibly more alarming is that this disorder can lead to other related disorders which all impact and negatively affect the learning process.
Treatment of ADHD includes medication as well as behavioral therapy and emotional counseling. Medications such as methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) are prescribed to correct neuro-chemical imbalances in the brain. However the most problematic area is the actual learning environment where the teacher and other educational authorities have to be aware of this problem and not allow it to be obscured by other related issues. In some cases students with ADHD related learning disabilities can receive counseling from special education professionals. These individuals serve as guidance counselors to help implement "individualized education plans" (IEPs) coaching. This is a "....relatively new specialty in the ADHD professional community, is used to help students on a one-to-one basis to improve their personal and professional lives, though guidance and motivation. (Psychological Evaluation and Counseling)
The idea that there is no absolute cure for ADD/ADHD is certainly a challenge of our time. Many professionals have wrestled with the problem of finding a more effective solution to this problem. It is also believed that for any treatment to be thoroughly effective, it is crucial that every aspect of the child or student's life be considered. "ADHD affects life at school, in the classroom, within the family, with friends and acquaintances but also affects the child's inner-life and self-esteem. This can lead to a loss in confidence and development of negative ideas about himself, based on past frustrations, struggles or failures." (ADHD)
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