The Impact Of Adhd On Children's Schooling And Education

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental health disorder that has evolved throughout history and derives from many factors that influence the final problem. Unlike physical injuries, one cannot physically spot mental illnesses, for it is challenging to identify overall. Nevertheless, empirical research has proven that there is a correlation between physical activity and mental health (Bowling, 2017). The importance of health and exercise both mental and physical is a subject which we must incorporate with children at an early age. The story of ADHD has dramatically changed throughout time. Although many of us do not know the origin story of how this disorder came to be, it is important that we acknowledge the overall medical history and its significance in the modern day.

As we first look at the development of ADHD it was first introduced in the early 1700s where they referred to children as having an incapacity for attending. According to Klaus W. Lange, Susanne Reichl, et.al. in “The history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” identifies that the disorder itself was discovered over a century ago, but was identified and given the name ADHD in the 2000s (2010). Later on in the 1800s individuals referred to kids with these types of difficulties as having a deficit of moral control. The disorder was analyzed by several authors such as Sir Alexander Crichton (1763–1856), Heinrich Hoffmann (1809–1894), and Sir George Frederic Still (1868–1941). All of these authors gave their own description of the disorder as they incorporated it into novels and short stories. In 1932, Franz Kramer and Hans Pollnow named the disorder as “Hyperkinetic disease of infancy” and acknowledged the symptoms but failed to take into a concept that the disorder develops in adulthood (Lange & Reichl 2010). Moreover, it wasn’t until 1937 that the first treatment of the disorder was successfully performed by Charles Bradley.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, ADHD changed again because it was thought to be caused by brain damage. During this time there was not only a change in psychiatry, but there was also a change in neurology in the mental health care system. In which they called this ADHD “Minimal Brain Damage”. Meaning that doctors and other professionals in the mental health system thought that these children had actual damage to the brain. However, they called it “Minimal” because they were not fully sure it was damaged. Later in the late 1960s, doctors did not like the term “ Minimal Brain Damage” and changed it to “ Minimal Brain Dysfunction”. Finally, in the 1960s The American Psychiatric Association created a dynastic of all mental illnesses in which recognize today.

Lange and Reichl illustrated that in the 2000s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition by the American Psychiatric Association established ADHD and labeled it the name that is used today. Furthermore, Lange and Reichl move on to analyze how authors from over 200 years ago have reported this disorder throughout history. However, one of the reasons that ADHD is not well recognized by practitioners is because the validity of ADHD has always been challenged. According to Stephen V. Faraone, a professor of Psychiatry of Suny Upstate Medical University, individuals used to believe that ADHD disappeared in adulthood because it was not as noticeable in adults as it was in a child who runs around and climbs on furniture (2014). Primary care doctors are now being trained to understand and treat ADHD. Nevertheless, the history of ADHD has drastically changed over its course in time. Many factors come into play to determine how the events that led up to modern day ADHD and influencers that shape it.

ADHD is a mental health disorder that arrives from many factors that lead up to the final problem. The problem is composed of parents socioeconomic status, education, and technology. These are the 3 main influencers on why 6.4 Million children are diagnosed with ADHD (The A.D.D Resource Center, 2017). The numbers are simply increasing as times goes by, yet most of us don’t know where this disorder derived from. Although, the fact is that there are many ways to decrease risks and symptoms of ADHD in children. Today children are at stake, for which they are exposed to many contributing agents and factors that most of us would not have thought of being a contributor to the problem. Therefore, these agents play significant roles and steer a child’s everyday life. Although children may adopt certain customs and bad habits they are not at fault for these uncontrolled factors. Kids are innocent and not mature enough to understand the consequences whereas parents should take on the responsibility of knowing what is beneficial for their children.

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A parents socioeconomic status determines their parenting styles which ignite the problem. The problem starts when children are accustomed to the parent’s lifestyle that they have been born into. Children tend to inherit their parent’s devious lifestyle. For example, if a child is raised by an active family, the child will most likely continue to adopt this active lifestyle into adulthood. Whereas if a parent lacks the motivation towards participating in physical activity, so will the child. The journal “A developmental perspective on the link between parents’ employment and children’s obesity” written by Robert Crosnoe and Rachel Duniform illustrate in their article that it is crucial for a parent to be active and present in a child’s life (2017). Crosnoe and Duniform portray that if a child is not motivated to by those who are closest in their life, they will potentially incorporate the same habits that will eventually be inherited by future generations to come. With this being said if we do not enforce our children to be active now it will not be of value to their life. This will build a future society where adolescents and adults are inactive and accustomed to the passive lifestyle. Furthermore, there are other issues that involve the economic stability in which a family and the child stand. This may affect the parent’s ability to adopt and incorporate a physically active lifestyle. Therefore, money can be an issue some parents face when enlisting a child to a sport. Moreover, being a single parent also makes it difficult to schedule play time for a child when hands get full of other obligations. This reduces parents time to teach kids the importance of being physically active and the benefits it can have on an individual’s mental health. With this being said, socioeconomic status and their parenting styles are introducers of a large-scale problem that leads to ADHD in children. Now that children are not motivated at home they are also reminded that physical education is not as important at school. This leads to the domino effect growing into schools and creating a problem.

Schools are the second agent who influences children that being active is unnecessary. United State schools are now cutting out PE, for districts are now emphasizing that general physical education is not essential for a child’s education. Mary Kate McCoy, the author of “Schools Cut Back Physical Education As Childhood Obesity Remains High: Study: Standardized Testing Pressure Takes Time Away From Physical Education” identifies that cutting out these classes will not expose students to the health benefits that physical education has to offer. Now that schools are slowly but steadily taking away PE courses, this leaves children to think that PE is unimportant. Now that we know a child is not implementing exercise outside of the home because of their parent’s socioeconomic status, neither will children get exercise at school. We can easily see how this can fastly escalate into a problem. One problem will lead to another that will prevent children from adopting exercise. No exercise will increase the risks of children being diagnosed with ADHD.

Lastly, technology has also become a barrier for children to exercise. Children prefer to spend their time playing video games rather than playing outside. Furthermore, David Russell and Mark Newton in their article, “Long-Term Psychological Effects of Interactive Video

Game Technology Exercise on Mood and Attention” find that exercise produces environments for children and increases their moods. Additionally, Russell and Newton analyze how the problem in the lack of exercise begins when children are using technology (2008). As society advances, so does technology. We have developed into a world where children are not getting their daily exercise. Nowadays parents are leaning towards purchasing technology for their children rather than encouraging them to play at jungle gyms. Blue light technology has become a barrier for kids that leads to a decrease in physical activity throughout the day. The increase of playtime on video-games such as “Fortnite”, an online video game that clashes multiplayer online gaming with 100 individuals every match decreases the motivation of a child to play outside. This video-game has allowed kids to play online with their closest friends instead of meeting in person to play ball. As we can see all of these concepts create a web of effects that lead to an epidemic of decreasing physical activity and an exposure to the risks of ADHD.

In brief, the history of ADHD has come along the way including its contributing factors. It is important to know where the problem originated before we determine how the events led up to the current situation. It has taken doctors centuries to finally call what we call ADHD today.

With a child’s life depending on their parents socioeconomic status, physical education courses decreasing in public schooling, and technology advancing, kids are limited to obtaining their physical activity. ADHD does not only derive from one factor but instead is composed of many influences in children’s lives that lead to the final problem.  

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