ADHD in Kids: Attention, Motivation, And More

A recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience used brain imaging to characterize the brain networks of young adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) compared to a group without it. The results showed that the frontal, temporal, and occipital cortices were abnormally connected within the brain of individuals with ADHD. The findings also revealed a deficit in both emotional/motivational and attentional/perceptual control systems in ADHD.

Brain Networks

ADHD is typically characterized by symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. It is often associated with abnormal functions of brain networks (i.e., abnormal coupling between brain regions). However, these changes within the brain have remained poorly characterized. This study also included extensive interviews with the participants regarding their ADHD symptoms and the degree of their impairments across multiple areas to better understand the brain networks. Taken together, the findings suggested that ADHD was associated with modified connectivity in large-scale brain networks.

The research suggests that the deficit in both emotional/motivational and attentional/perceptual control systems in adolescents and young adults with ADHD may also affect their reading, math, and writing skills. ADHD often extends beyond affecting just academic abilities, it affects students' social lives as well.

StepUp Note

In the StepUp programs, we say that self-evaluation is the key to motivation.  As children feel empowered to do meaningful work and feel the self-satisfaction of a job well done (even though they may grumble at having to do it!), they develop the ability to evaluate their own work and the sense of obligation to complete it. More importantly, they develop the understanding that self-evaluation is a part of their job in daily living.

At home, help children with tasks as needed, but not if they are able to finish independently. Lead with guiding questions such as, "Where does the dirty towel ? How many forks do we need at the table? What do you do next?" A child’s first learning must be practical life learning, that is, learning that encourages and empowers a children to develop sustained, self-directed attention and to self-evaluate the results of their efforts.





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