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Most Common Special Needs Disorder By Shriya Ravilisetty

ADHD is one of the most common special needs disorders that are found in classrooms. This article talks about what ADHD is, how it occurs and talks about different struggles and treatments to help with the disorder. The information here is to help you understand children with ADHD so that you can support and relate to their thought processes and the struggles they might be facing. ADHD is shown in many different ways which means that not everyone with ADHD is going to act or be impacted the same. The article is covering a very broad part of ADHD that is mainly shown in kids going through school and how the stress they endure may impact.

What is ADHD?

According to “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition whose symptoms are also dependent on the child’s environment,” (American Academy of Pediatrics, Causes of ADHD: What We Know Today). ADHD is one of the most common disorders in kids; millions of kids, specifically in the US, are being diagnosed every year. In 2016 the CDC took a parent survey to see how many kids were diagnosed with ADHD. According to the survey:

  • 388,000 children were diagnosed from the ages of 2-5

  • 2.4 million children were diagnosed from the ages of 6-11

  • 3.3 million children were diagnosed from the ages of 12-17

On average 6.1 million kids were diagnosed with ADHD in one year. ADHD causes a lack of focus, overactivity, and spontaneity. There are 3 different ways ADHD can be presented: combined presentation, predominantly inattentive presentation, and predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation. These presentations are seen through the three main symptoms of ADHD which would be inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. Presentations can change as the child grows or receives therapy/treatment.

How does ADHD occur?

ADHD isn’t something that we can truly find the cause for but there are theories with evidence that show a few causes of why a child might have ADHD. The six most likely causes would be brain function, heredity, traumatic brain injury (TBI), prematurity, and prenatal exposure. ADHD is a disorder that is more prevalent in males than females. A cause of ADHD is brain function. When the brain isn’t as active as it should be in certain areas of the brain, mainly the ones that deal with your attention span, then it is most likely correlated with ADHD. Additionally, ADHD has a high chance of passing through family genes. If a parent with ADHD decides to have a child there is a 1 in 4 chance of their child having ADHD. Head injuries can also cause ADHD. These head injuries could occur before or after birth. TBIs (traumatic brain injury) cause something called secondary ADHD which is a form of ADHD that develops after an injury most likely a traumatic brain injury. Prematurity is another cause of ADHD because after being born there is a less likely chance that the brain would fully develop as it would normally in the womb. Prenatal exposure: Exposure to addictive substances like alcohol or nicotine increases the risk of developing ADHD because it affects how the brain develops which has the same effects if the child was prematurely born. ADHD can occur because of many natural and unnatural events. Even though there is strong evidence to strongly support these claims there is no objective way to clearly state that ADHD is caused by these factors because there are still children out there that have ADHD and have none of these factors to support why they were diagnosed with ADHD.

What struggles occur with having ADHD?

ADHD comes with its fair share of struggles mainly in the real world. According to the same survey that was done in 2016 “6 in 10 children with ADHD had at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder,” (CDC, Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Data and Statistics). A mental disorder that is normally associated with ADHD is anxiety (which will be later talked about in the article). Emotional disorders would be depression, Tourette syndrome, and/or autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and behavioral disorders would be behavioral or conduct problems like ODD or conduct disorder. Because of all these disorders that are normally correlated with ADHD, it can lead to other things like “low self-esteem, depression, oppositional behavior, school failure, risk-taking behavior, and/or family conflict,” (Shirin Hasan, ADHD). Many kids with ADHD also struggle with change which is why it is hard for students to start the school year for the first couple of weeks. Since some ADHD symptoms affect planning, organization, and behavior management they play a big factor in why kids with ADHD have a hard time facing change. Sometimes it is also hard for kids to sit in one place for a long time because of the lack of focus and impulsivity. Kids with ADHD have their hands full with everything that they go through but that does mean that there aren’t ways to help them make life a little bit easier.

What treatments are given to help ADHD?

To help children with inattention and hyperactivity there are certain stimulant drugs are prescribed. These stimulants “appear to boost and balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters,” (Mayo Clinic, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children). Other treatments are used mainly to help with behavioral outbreaks/ issues. Children with ADHD will sometimes go to behavioral therapy, social skills training, psychotherapy, or family therapy to help deal with certain ideas that they may not be able to understand. Behavioral therapy can help with learning different behavior-changing strategies for understanding and dealing with difficult situations. Social Skills Training helps kids learn social skills they do not understand. Psychotherapy is mainly used in older kids to help them cope with their ADHD after being diagnosed at a later age. Finally, family therapy can help the families learn different techniques to help them with living with someone that has ADHD.

Throughout the article, there has been information thrown left and right but the most important piece to take away from this, is how you now know more about ADHD and coping methods than you did before. The article has taken you through different aspects of ADHD and about what it is, how it develops, and different obstacles that children may face when diagnosed with this disorder. You have also learned different methods to help not only your kid but you, as well, throughout their journey with ADHD.

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children - Diagnosis and treatment. (2019, June 25). Mayo Clinic.

Causes of ADHD: What we know today. (n.d.). HealthyChildren.Org. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from

CDC. (2020, November 16). Data and statistics about ADHD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC. (2021, November 29). ADHD and school changes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Common disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2022, from

Mammoser, G. (2018, March 19). Traumatic brain injury in children can lead to ADHD years later. Healthline Media. (n.d.). What Is ADHD? Retrieved June 6, 2022, from

Rucklidge, J. J. (2010). Gender differences in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder - PubMed. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(2).