Title

ADHD: Maladaptive Disorder or Healthy Adaptation

Focused Area

Improving School Climate for Youth-At-Risk

Relevance to Focused Area

This proposal is relevant to the improving school and climate for youth-at-risk Focused Area because it offers clear and specific interventions that are effective in the academic environment. It also offers case-study examples of schools that have incorporated the research and have received remarkable results. Participants will walk away with practical tools that are immediately applicable school setting.

Primary Strand

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance to Primary Strand

This proposal relates to the Academic Achievement & School Leadership strand. This presentation will explore research that suggests the symptoms of ADHD are actually more adaptive and positive than maladaptive and negative. The presentation will explore the implications of this research for educators and administrators in the academic setting. The results of the research offer a promising outlook for schools that incorporate it.

Brief Program Description

Children with ADHD can disrupt to virtually any environment. This presentation will explore research that presents the symptoms of ADHD as adaptive rather than maladaptive, analyze the implications of viewing inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity as strengths, and discuss how parents, teachers, helping professionals, school administrators and physicians can use this information to assist children impacted by ADHD.

Summary

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder adversely affects the lives of children, families, schools, and communities worldwide (Barkley, 2005). Psychiatrists, psychologists, school administrators, teachers and parents attempt to treat, understand and contain the maladaptive symptoms. Professionals use medication, therapeutic interventions, and evidence-based treatments in an attempt to provide relief.

ADHD accounts for disruptive behavior, school suspensions and in some cases criminal behavior (Mannuzza, S., Klein, R. G., & Moulton, J. L., 2008). Despite its maladaptive nature, evolutionary psychology introduces the possibility that ADHD once served a viable purpose in human hunter-gather societies. The inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive symptoms of ADHD increased the chances of survival in harsh prehistoric conditions (Hartmann, 2003). Instead of viewing the symptoms of ADHD as problematic Hatmann (2003) introduces the idea of response-ready characteristics.

Response ready individuals thrive in non-sedentary environments. Sedentary learning environments promote failure among response ready individuals (Stolzer, 2009). Rather than medicating natural and adaptive traits, researchers suggest that school systems creatively harness the strengths of response ready children and alter the learning environment to meet the needs of these children.

The implications of viewing ADHD and its component traits as strengths offer an opportunity to change the vantage point and possibly the scope of treatment, parenting and education.

This presentation will specifically examine programs and models that have successfully used this research to create learning and therapeutic environments. Examples of programs and models reviewed are the Hunter School, a therapeutic day and residential school that educates and treats children with ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome, Multiple Intelligence Education, and Montessori Education.

Finally, the presentation will offer practical application for using this research to enhance treatment and education in varied settings. Participants will have the opportunity to review the most successful programs and discuss how to implement similar practices in their schools and programs. The format of this presentation will be lecture and discussion based.

Evidence

This presentation is based on research by evolutionary psychologist Dr. Peter Jensen, Dr. Howard Gardner, and Harvard’s Dr. John Ratey. Dr. Ratey wrote a book called Spark in which he highlighted a case study of a school district in Illinois that created an exercise program before school. The goal for each participant was to maintain 80-90% of their maximum heart rate throughout the exercise routine. The research suggests that kids with ADHD respond to aerobic exercise in a favorable manner. The results revealed that students in the program performed better academically. In fact, they scored 1st in science and 6th in math on an international test where Asian countries usually outpace the US.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Jeremiah holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a professional counselor, and national conference speaker and trainer. He speaks across the country on topics including ADHD, anger, addictions, diversity and innovative clinical approaches. He excels in designing and implementing creative methods for building rapport with youth considered at risk. He employs innovation combined with traditional theories and models in mental health and substance abuse treatment.

In 2005, he founded The Center of Hopes™ a speaking, training and counseling organization committed to the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Jeremiah has learned that keeping young people off the path of delinquency is a collective effort. Therefore, he offers cutting-edge training to parents, professionals, and other partners who work directly or indirectly with youth. Jeremiah has consulted with the award-winning GAP program as a trainer and counselor and has provided services to a variety of entities including: Gardner-Webb University, School Nurse Association of North Carolina, and the Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control Board, and the North Carolina Governors Crime Commission.

Start Date

11-7-2015 10:15 AM

End Date

11-7-2015 11:30 AM

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Nov 7th, 10:15 AM Nov 7th, 11:30 AM

ADHD: Maladaptive Disorder or Healthy Adaptation

Children with ADHD can disrupt to virtually any environment. This presentation will explore research that presents the symptoms of ADHD as adaptive rather than maladaptive, analyze the implications of viewing inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity as strengths, and discuss how parents, teachers, helping professionals, school administrators and physicians can use this information to assist children impacted by ADHD.