While there is still some controversy over the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder among younger people, the symptoms that we tend to associate with ADHD frequently cause trouble for students struggling with the learning process.
Often there is a quick decision to try medication as means of helping the student improve their learning ability and limit the symptoms of disruptive and impulsive behavior.
Medication alone should not be considered an end all, be all type of answer.
While it is true that the use of medication can help some students, the results will vary from person to person, as well as from the differences between types of medications and dosages in the same individual. Also there are many misconceptions as to exactly what ADHD medications can do for long term improvement.
While there have been numerous studies there is no clear indication of ADHD medications direct effect on academic performance. Some studies have shown that medication does increase certain students productivity and overall accuracy in the work that they do perform.
However other studies have noted that despite this increase in workload and overall accuracy those same students do not show any long term improvement in grades or personal knowledge. (One study from Harvard Medical School noted that students suffering from inattentive type ADHD showed a measurable improvement while other types did not) One suggestion for this result is the fact that achievement tests are not geared properly for accurately determining a student’s improvement when dealing with ADHD issues.
Also on medication a student suffering from ADHD symptoms is more likely to be considered as focused or “on task” for longer periods of time and are less likely to be easily distracted. This is one of the key reasons why ADHD medication has been shown to improve short term performance, and CBT with an Orange County psychologist can help extend performance.
Medications for the treatment of ADHD have several side effects which vary between individuals. Some students while on medication will show an improvement in areas of math while doing poorly in areas of reading comprehension.
Medication will not “make” a student learn. Often times those students singled out for ADHD treatment are suffering other learning disabilities whether or not the initial diagnosis of ADHD is correct or not. Those students will have the toughest time and will see the least results from the use of medication in the classroom.