Understanding Special Needs Children And Young People Essay

In this assignment I hope to highlight the ADHD Disorder also show what treatments and supports are available for this special need. I hope to find some local support groups for this condition and also detail what legislation is in place to deal with special needs.

I hope by the end of this assignment I will be after highlighting enough about how difficult families and teachers find it to cope and live with children who suffer from ADHD.

Rational for the Project

Plan of Work

For this assignment I will look over the notes Christina Meyler has given me so far.

I will also look up the ADHD disorder on the internet.

I will also go through the book Assisting Children with Special Needs by Ellis Flood.

I hope to get a lot of the assignment done during the mid-term in November and then get some feedback on what I will have done to then.

I aim to have it finished and handed up by the 30th November 2012.

Case Study

Brian is an 11 year old boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD. Brian is a bright boy, who is very creative, he has average marks in school. But he sufferes from severe distractibility and a lack of organisational skills, all of which affects his school work. Brian would often lie about his school work and this would cause problems at home with his family.

The school contacted a therapist and they saw Brian on a regular basis for four months and also held sessions with Brian’s parents. The therapist along with Brian’s parents and his teachers at school developed a checklist of acceptable behaviour programme for Brian. His parents and teachers had to learn proper responses to Brian’s frequent oppositional behaviour.

By doing this Brian’s behaviour became more manageable for his parents and his teachers, Brian’s behaviour has become a bit calmer because of this also. Brian now also gets on better at home with his family. He will still have his outbursts but they are not as frequent as they once was the ADHD has become more manageable.

Causes of ADHD

The causes of ADHD are not really known at the moment, but there is research been carried out to try and find out what causes it. Some children in America with ADHD have undergone an MRI Scan and ‘the prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia were found to be smaller than in children who haven’t ADHD this would indicate that neurophysiological could be the cause of the disorder'(www.casestudies-ADHD-children)

Also it is believed that children with parents that have ADHD are more likely to develop it so there for ADHD could be hereditary.

Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is usually diagnosed by a qualified psychologist, generally the psychologist will obtain information regarding the child’s behaviour from the child’s parents and teachers at their school. The psychologist will observe the child and give them various tasks to complete, closely observing the child’s attention span, activity level and impulse control with regard to their age.

In order to diagnosis ADHD the child must have a sufficient number of difficulties with concentration, activity levels and impulse control. These behaviours must be present in at least two settings usually in the home and at school.

The evaluation process will also determine the type of ADHD a child has, the psychologist evaluating the child would have to have extensive knowledge and experience of children with the condition.

Treatment of ADHD

ADHD is usually treated using a combination of stimulant medication and behavioural therapy.


Several stimulant mediations are available which help to calm the child down allowing them to bring their behaviour under control. Many people are surprised to learn that stimulants are given to children with ADHD as these children seem to be over stimulated already but they do work. Ritalin is perhaps the best known ADHD medication, it has been widely used since its release in 1954. Other medications used are Adderall, Dexedrine and Metadata.

Stimulants work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, the parts whose function is to control attention, motivation, pleasure and movement. By regulating the dopamine levels doctors can regulate the attention spans and energy levels of the children they are treating.

Some children are not able to take stimulation medication because of side effects, there are non-stimulant medications available such as Stiattera, there are not many children on this medication.

Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural Therapy can be used alone or with medication as described above. Behavioural Therapy is designed to train children to control their hyperactivity and lack of attention. Based on the work of B.F. Skinner ‘desirable behaviour is rewarded but undesirable behaviour is not’. An example of this is when a child is asked to do a task, when that task is carried out the child then gets a reward for doing the task, but if they don’t complete the task they are not rewarded.


There is no cure for ADHD and children with the disorder seldom grow out of it. However many find ways to cope with and adapt to their ADHD as they get older and become adults. Many adults have ADHD and don’t even know they have it, it is believed that mand of our prisoners suffer with ADHD. Many adults with ADHD have poor time keeping, they have difficulty completing a task, they would also find it hard to maintain a personal relationship. Others become unemployed and have a higher than average incidence of drug and alcohol abuse. In the past in Ireland very few children were diagnosed with ADHD, if they played up they were just expelled from school. Now in the schools if there is a problem the teacher and principle will try to find the underlying cause for the child’s behaviour. This will mean that in future many more children will be diagnosed early and measures will be put in place quicker to help them manage their condition in order to reach their true potential.


Support Groups for ADHD

Springborad Family Support programme operated by Youth New Ross Ltd.

They hold meetings in my local area for parents with children who suffer from ADHD. The group meets every four to five weeks to share their own stories and discuss the problems they come up against on a day to day basis, they also give each other advice on how they deal with the problems they come up against.

Waterford ADHD Support, 74 Farren Park, Upper Grange, Waterford. (051) 852171

Kilkenny ADHD Support, Jerpoint Abbey, Thomastown, Co.Kilkenny 056) 7754954

These are local support groups in my local area that I sourced from the internet.

Current Legislation


This was the first piece of legislation passed since the foundation of the state that outlines the governments legal obligations regarding education.

The act provided the first legal definition of disability

The act provides the first legal definition of Special educational Needs

The act defines what it means by support services.

The function of the Minister for education was also defined under this act.


This act ensures all children have a right to attend a regonised school even children with special needs.This act also helped in the creation of the Educational Welfare Board


This is the most significant piece of legislation relating to special needs in education.

The act is extensive and covers the following general areas

The issue of inclusion with regards to children with special needs in mainstream settings.

Preparation of individual educational plans for children with special needs.

Assessment of special needs.

Service provision for children with special educational needs.


(Ellis Flood 2010 :10-17)

The Practical and Emotional impact of having a child with ADHD

Most parents of children with ADHD face a daily challenge of managing their child’s behaviour. Within the home most children with ADHD who are hyperactive have difficulty complying with parental instructions. They get frustrated quickly, interrupt conversations and have a tendency to get into fights with their siblings. Their demanding tendencies can cause problems with their friends who will regard them as been bossy and quick tempered, they can also get violent with their families.

Children with ADHD who are not hyperactive and impulsive can drive their parents crazy not so much with what they do but more what they don’t do. In this case parents struggle with unfinished homework and major disorganization. They are often described as being passive and shy in relationships.

Conclusions and Recommendations

While carrying out this assignment, I did not realise how having a child with ADHD could affect the family home, I also didn’t realise how many children suffer with attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder it is getting fairly common among children. I think this is mainly due to more doctors and teachers been more aware of the condition, so therefore it is getting diagnosed quicker. This is a good thing because more people will be made aware of the condition and therefore will learn how to deal with it and more supports will be put in place quicker.

I feel I have done the best of my ability in carrying out this assignment, and I am pleased with what I have accomplished.

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