California Educator

October 2011

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What Educators Should Know ~about~ ADD Story by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman t HE BOY DROPS his pencil every few minutes in Jeanette Davis' spe- cial education class at Hosler Middle School in Lynwood. He twists and turns in his seat, drums his fingers on his desk, and constantly raises his hand, calling for help while his teacher is assisting other students. Midway through the math lesson, he begins writing in his journal. "Rickie, we are not writing in our jour- nal now. We are doing math," says Davis, a member of the Los Angeles County Education Association. "Please put the journal away." Rickie Freeman has trouble sitting still and concentrating on his work because he has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disor- der (ADHD), a condition that's increasing among students. Studies show that every classroom teacher is likely to have at least one student with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or ADHD in their classroom each year, mak- ing it the most common behavior disorder in children. According to a study by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 10 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have a form of the condition, compared with 8 percent reported in 2003. The rise may be due to increased awareness and diagnosis. Symptoms include having difficulty staying seated and concentrating on schoolwork, and constantly interrupting conversations and activities. To make the situation even more challenging for teachers, most stu- dents with ADD/ADHD are in general edu- cation classrooms. Even in a special education classroom, it's a challenge, Davis admits. "When negat ive and inappropriate behavior occurs, it makes things really cha- otic. Even one child with this condition in your classroom can have a very big impact. I love these children because they are smart and have a lot to offer, but sometimes people may not know it because their behavior is out of control." October 2011 / 11

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