ERIC Number: ED337755
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Alternatives in Understanding and Educating Attention-Deficit Students: A Systems-Based Whole Language Perspective. NCTE Concept Paper Series. Concept Paper No. 3.
The prevailing concept of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical one: those exhibiting significant problems in maintaining attention and restraining impulses are said to have a "disorder," which implies some sort of malfunction within the individual. What is needed is a "both/and" perspective: a perspective that simultaneously acknowledges the validity of the social criticisms of the origin and consequences of ADHD, and at the same time acknowledges and attempts to alleviate the very real difficulties of children. A general systems view of ADHD sees causes as multi-dimensional and multi-directional--a view compatible with and contributing to a whole language philosophy. The forthcoming "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual" (version IV) will list the defining characteristics of ADHD under two relatively separate behavioral dimensions: inattention-disorganization, and impulsivity-hyperactivity. It is not easy even for trained clinicians to distinguish ADHD from other problems. Research indicates that medication complemented by cognitive or behavioral therapy is more effective than any of the treatments alone. There are numerous strategies effective in educating ADHD children that reflect a systems perspective by adjusting the environment and environmental demands to meet the needs of students. Because whole language theory reflects a "both/and" stance toward responsibility for learning and a conviction that teachers need to work with children to help them control their behavior, whole language teachers may be particularly effective with ADHD students. (Four figures are included; 55 references and a list of 14 items for further reading are attached.) (RS)
Descriptors: Attention Deficit Disorders, Behavior Disorders, Educational Strategies, Elementary Secondary Education, Emotional Disturbances, Hyperactivity, Systems Approach, Teacher Role, Whole Language Approach
National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Rd., Urbana, IL 61801 (Stock No. 01291).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL.