Every October, awareness is raised for those who experience Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, according to adhdawarenessmonth.org.
ADHD is a mental disorder that occurs most often in children and includes symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, paying attention, staying organized and remembering details, according to the Healthline website.
“Speaking more from the trials and challenges perspective, we just can’t focus well on one thing for too long, unless it’s something that’s really interesting to us,” said Alan Andersen, a sophomore studying English who has ADHD.
Andersen said when it comes to things like media consumption, a person without ADHD would be able to focus on one thing for an extended period of time, while someone with ADHD would glance at something, explore it a bit and then quickly move on.
Around 6.4 million American children between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, showing a 42 percent increase in ADHD diagnoses in the past eight years, according to the Healthline website. 6.1 percent of American children are being treated with medication on account of their diagnosis.
Austin Ascura, a junior studying software engineering, said he cannot help but be skeptical about the increase in diagnoses for ADHD.
“I think that ADD and ADHD are both terms that get thrown around frivolously now,” Ascura said. “It is probably hard to diagnose because it is just subtle enough that good habits would help override what a lot of it is.”
ADHD is not just a childhood order, but continues into adulthood and today 4 percent of Americans over 18 deal with it daily, according to Healthline.
“ADHD is not caused by: poor parenting, falls or head injuries, traumatic life events, digital distractions, video games and television, lack of physical activity, food additives, food allergies, or excess sugar,” according to add.org. “It is caused by chemical, structural and connectivity differences in the brain, which are mostly due to genetics.”
Andersen said in order to accomodate the education of children and young adults with ADHD, teaching methods should be restructured for the individual student.
“Tons of things are competing for our attention and we are going to select things we think are interesting,” Andersen said. “If something proves otherwise, we are going to spend less time on it. Compared to other people, some things are just much more boring.”
Ascura said that helping children with ADHD cope and fit in with society is a responsibility that rests with the parents of the individual.
“If I were in a position where I had a kid whom I suspected had ADHD, I would probably try to familiarize myself with their preferences and interests, as well as what sort of teaching methods are most effective,” Ascura said. “Based on that information, I would try to use the strongpoint of my child as a basis to develop good habits they could use in other aspects of their life.”
ADHD is recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, so accommodations can usually be made for those with ADHD when proper testing has been undertaken, according to add.org.
“Teachers should look at the weak spots and find out what is going on,” Ascura said. “Find out what the problem is, and go case by case to help as many people as you can.”