I really am not an expert on this, but I have certainly encountered examples during my teaching career. Quite often, especially early on, I probably did not handle such people well either.
I was prompted by tonight’s 7.30 Report to write a post on Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. The report showed strong neurological evidence that this disorder, which is still subject of much controversy, really is a physical thing.
A world first study conducted by University of Melbourne researchers has identified a new area of the brain, linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children. Researchers have discovered a significant lack of activity in a region at the back of the brain, which underpins a child’s ability to manage stress. The finding points to a biological basis for the controversial condition rather than problems of inadequate parenting or poorly behaved children, or even diet as the primary cause of difficult behaviour. The findings could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, which affects up to five per cent of primary school aged children…
There are links to video interviews and to further stories on the 7.30 Report site.
Some issues are discussed in this UK article: Socio-educational and Biomedical Models in the Treatment of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder and related Neurobehavioural Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence, and their Implications for Adult Mental Health by Ian N Ford BA DMS FRSH.
…We would suggest that there is evidence to support the existence of AD/HD as a neurobiochemical disorder ( or a spectrum of related disorders ) which has a significant impact upon children and adults, affecting their ability to function effectively in a variety of situations, social, intellectual and in education or employment.
These individuals respond best to pharmacological and behavioural treatments, yet traditionally such treatments have been kept as a second tier if not a last resort. One can say that there is not an ” objective clinical test ” for AD/HD and that the diagnostic criteria used are inadequate, inconsistent and confusing. But then all one has to do is read a few sets of notes from a Child Guidance Clinic to wonder if explanations of behavioural problems as due to ” sibling rivalry ” or whatever stand up to similar examination.
It is easy to criticise American doctors for prescribing Ritalin without proper investigation, and to blame the increase in diagnosis of neurobehavioural disorder as an attempt by parents to seek a ” disability ” that explains why their child is not academically gifted. However, one has also to question whether the British establishment has got it right either…
An American psychiatrist, Dr D B Henley, has posted a number of mp3s on the subject (and others) here, and this YouTube as part of a continuing series “It’s a Brain Thing.” It’s 30 minutes long.