Living with ADHD: Timing Perceptions and Their Applicability to the Experience of ADHD

Living with ADHD: Timing Perceptions and Their Applicability to the Experience of ADHD

Osnat O. Fellus (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Daniel P. Fellus (Carleton University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0034-6.ch013
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Abstract

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that is diagnosed in a constantly growing number of individuals in the Western world. This chapter provides a short overview of the shift in the conceptualization of ADHD drawing on the five Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals (DSMs). The authors argue that focusing on the concept of timing and understanding time in ADHD may allow teachers and parents to look beyond using pharmaceutics as the first course of treatment. The chapter concludes with a case study that showcases the experience of timing domains in ADHD.
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Background

ADHD is one of the most commonly known neurodevelopmental disorders (Polanczyk, De Lima, Horta, Biederman, & Rohde, 2007) and persisting in about 65% into adulthood (Biedermann, Monuteaux, Mick, Spencer, Wilens, Silva et al., 2006). Depending on theoretical dispositions and methodological considerations, the prevalence of ADHD sometimes exceeds the one-digit numbers (see Rafalovich, 2004 for an extensive account of the social forces that shape ADHD). Either way, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is considered to be the most prevalent disorder of childhood affecting at least 5% of school-aged children (e.g., Polanczyk, De Lima, Horta, Biederman, & Rohde, 2007). The question of prevalence is important because research has found that ADHD-like symptoms may be displayed in unrelated conditions such as severe cases of lead poisoning (Nigg, Nikolas, Mark Knottnerus, Cavanagh, & Friderici, 2010) or sleep deprivation (Gau, Kessler, Tseng, Wan-Ling Tseng, Yu-Yu, Yen-Nan et al., 2007). We will not discuss the prevalence of lead poisoning or sleep deprivation because we believe these are problems that can be addressed relatively more readily by raising parents’ awareness to probable causes of lead poisoning or sleep deprivation and to possible solutions to effectively eliminate these problems.

Whichever the source of ADHD symptoms, the World Health Organization decided to include ADHD in its 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) whose aim it is to describe health conditions with a proportionally high prevalence. A recently published paper that focuses on the prevalence of ADHD provided initial findings for the GBD that were used to justify the decision to identify ADHD as globally spread health condition (Erskine, Ferrari, Nelson, Polanczyk, Flaxman, Vos, et al., 2013). Recognizing that ADHD is considered a worldwide condition entails a focused attention to the understanding of ADHD for the purposes of identifying effective, long-term interventions. As stated above, the purpose of this chapter is not to describe the clinical characteristics of ADHD, its etiology, genealogy or its concurrent conditions, nor is it to discuss the various pharmaceutical treatments used today and their side effects, or the controversies and heated debates around the difficult question whether or not to medicate children who display ADHD-like symptoms. These issues are extensively discussed in various publications available to the public (see for e.g., Mayes, Bagwell, & Erkulwater, 2009; Taylor, O’Donoghue, & Houghton, 2006). Rather, it is our intention to highlight an emerging factor that pertains to the experience of ADHD and that carries implications to the school environment. But before we can discuss these issues, it is important to understand the shift in the conceptualization of ADHD to which we turn next so that we can more comfortably consider ways of intervention.

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