Canadian Public Policy Education Learning Disability D Term Paper

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Canada Public Policy: ADHD and Education

Canadian Public Policy, Education Learning disability A.D.H.D

Struggle by Human Rights Groups and Parents

Public Policy Canada: An Overview

Policy Implications

It has been estimated that almost five percent of School aged children out of population of 2.1 Million in Ontario are suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Contrasting other disabilities like autism or learning disabilities the ADHD was not in the special education previously. The students with ADHD were not included in the special education policy and thus the students and parents were suffering as they could not get the necessary interventions at School suggested by the doctor. (Andrea Golden, 2012)

Recently Education Minister of Ontario has announced to accommodate the students with ADHD and thus relaxed the parents as previously parents were spending from their pockets on theirs children with ADHD. A memorandum has been posted on the Ministry of Education website in the name of School Boards saying "children with conditions such as "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are entitled to special education supports and services if the condition interferes with their learning."

Current essay is a report on Canadian Public Policy as well current policy change that was accommodating students with ADHD in the School under special education. This step taken by the government is very positive and will have long lasting impacts on students with ADHD as well as relax their parents. In the beginning of the paper the author has focused on stating the conditions of ADHD. The author has also shed light on the problems and difficulties that ADHD children and their parents have to face in general and in classroom setting

After discussing the issue of ADHD in Ontario and the difficulties of parents and kids the author has focused on the policy issues. In the initial section there is a statement of the problem, next the focus is on policy perspective and then there is a discussion on the benefits and costs for government as well as parents related to the recent announcement of the Ministry of Education.

The Statement of Issue

ADHD is defined within the medical community by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM IV). According to Michigan State University's School Psychology Program (2004), the DSM IV lists three subtypes of ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Inattentive Type, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Combined Type. For each of these three subtypes there are five factors that must be present in order to conclude a diagnosis of ADHD: a) persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be more frequently displayed and is more severe than is typically observed in individuals at comparable level of development, b) some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms must have been present before age seven years, c) some impairment from the symptoms is present in at least two settings (e.g., in school and at home), d) there must be clear evidence of interference with developmentally appropriate social, academic, or occupational functioning, and e) the disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorders and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder). Additionally, six or more of the following symptoms for inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must have persisted for at least six months.


(a) Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities

(b) Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activity

(c) Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

(d) Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)

(e) Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

(f) Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)

(g) Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books or tools)

(h) Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli

(i) is often forgetful in daily activities


(a) Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

(b) Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in
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which remaining seated is expected

(c) Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)

(d) Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

(e) is often ?on the go? Or often acts as if ?driven by a motor

(f) Often talks excessively

(g) Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed

(h) Often has difficulty awaiting turn

(i) Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

Some research suggests ADHD is a biological disorder, ranging from complications with dopamine reuptake transporter genes to neurological chemical imbalances and even the effects of prenatal and prenatal nicotine exposure (Castellanos & Tannock, 2002). In addition to biological causes, researchers have also examined possible causes of ADHD such as the number of hours children watch television, their school environment (teaching methods, low self-esteem, boredom, etc.), toxins in the environment, and other psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety (Dryer, Kiernan, & Tyson, 2006). The parent-child relationship also has received attention as a possible source of children's negative behaviors, including such areas as hostile parenting, ineffective discipline, and parents'mental health (Lifford, Harold, & Thapar, 2008; Poire & Dailey, 2000; Snyder, Cramer, Afrank, & Patterson, 2005; Yingling, 2004). These are all relational issues that come directly from varying communication patterns exemplified through parenting practices, the reason this study has chosen to focus on the communicative practices of parents with their children.

Yingling (2004) wrote about the relationship between parent and child and how it evolves from infancy to adulthood through relational dialogue. She asserted that parents are the ?primary agents of socialization and have the ?greatest influence on children's interpretations and management of emotions (p. 117). The reinforcement of parents'expectations serves as a model of the parent-child relationship that provides the child with proper behavioral management skills. According to Yingling (2004), children who express their negative emotions through displays of anger are less likely to receive sensitive care giving, and by age two are often managed by the use of authoritarian discipline (p. 156). This type of discipline creates a defiant response from the child, which then leads to ?inconsistent parenting -- first resisting, then giving in (p. 156). Conversely, if parents comfort the angry or distressed child, the children are more likely to deal constructively with anger. Furthermore, Yingling (2004) contends that this authoritative style of parenting employs the kind of clear and consistent rules and limits that young children understand and appreciate, whereas authoritarian styles simply reinforce negative behavior.

Struggle by Human Rights Groups and Parents

For many years parents and human rights organization were struggling and pursuing government to declare ADHD as a disability and accommodate these children in public Schools. Research shows that symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity frequently lead children to struggle with work productivity and academic achievement, and often these symptoms may persist into adulthood (DuPaul & Stoner, 2003). Reports from parents and teachers indicate that children with ADHD underperform relative to their own abilities as well as compared to their peers. In all, approximately 80% of children with ADHD have been found to exhibit learning and/or achievement difficulties (Cantwell & Baker, 1991; Pastor & Reuben, 2002). Consequently, children with ADHD function approximately one standard deviation below their classmates with respect to achievement test scores (DuPaul & Stoner, 2003). Because of these challenges in academic performance and achievement, 56% of children with ADHD require academic tutoring (Barkley, 2006); approximately 30% get retained at least once in school (Barkley, 2006); and almost 50% are placed in special education for behavioral disorders or learning disabilities (Reid et al., 1994).

Due to all these difficulties parents were suffering as there was no support from government and no special educational plan for these children. The parent couldn't ask school administration to provide the required intervention as advised by the doctor in class room. Parents conveyed their voice to the government through different human rights organization and NGOs such as Family Alliance Ontario, The Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations; Center for ADHD Awareness (CADDAC) Canada.

Human rights organizations and parents have been asking to provide the ADHD children with the same kinds of support as is accessible to the students with autism and other learning disabilities and other conditions that restrict and cause hindrance in learning National Director of CADDAC Heidi Bernhardt described that she used to get daily calls from parents describing their difficulties. She also described that parents usually complained that their children cannot get the necessary interventions from School and classroom as suggested by doctors. Commenting on the recent decision by Ministry of Education she…

Sources Used in Documents:


Andrea Golden. (2012) Students with ADHD have legal right to supports in school Accessed online at -- students-with-adhd-have-legal-right-to-supports-in-school?bn=1

Castellanos, X.F. And Tannock, R. (2002). Neuroscience of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: The search for endophenotypes. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3, 617-628.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B. To the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982, c. 11. Ottawa, ON. Government of Canada.

Dryer, R., Kiernan, M.J., and Tyson, G.A. (2006). Implicit theories of the characteristics and causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder held by parents and professionals in the psychological, educational, medical and allied health fields. Australian Journal of Psychology, 58, 79-92

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