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Analytical Essay on Key Areas of ADHD and Review of Relevant Policies in the UK

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For my SEN module, I will be discussing and analysing ADHD aimed towards children in both primary and secondary schools in London, United Kingdom. I have chosen to produce a resource for children who are diagnosed with ADHD and this resource will be used towards reducing the hyperactivity and help children calm down and refocus. This resource will also help teachers deal with children with ADHD. I will follow up by discussing a short literature review on ADHD for analysis using journals, articles and books. I will then discuss relevant policies, training and cultural attitudes towards ADHD. On the other hand, I will offer an explanation of the optimistic feature of ADHD and why it isn’t always a bad thing like it’s made out to seem. I will then go into explaining the help needed for children with ADHD and what children with that condition need in order to help them on a day to day basis that helps make it easier for them and list any evidence that I have paid attention to people with ADHD in the UK, such as newspaper articles, documentaries or interviews. To finalise my essay, I will come to a conclusion about my findings.

Literature Review:

In this chapter, I will begin by giving an overview about ADHD and the causes and treatments using academic references. I will then go further into discussing relevant literature on ADHD like exclusions from schools and stigma on ADHD.

Overview of ADHD:

ADHD is Attentive Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. ADHD is one of the most prevalent paediatric neurodevelopmental conditions. It is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and lasts far into adulthood. Children with ADHD may struggle to pay attention, regulate impulsive actions (doing without considering the consequences), or be too energetic. It is common for kids to have difficulty focusing and behaving at some point in their lives. Children with ADHD, on the other hand, do not just grow out of these tendencies. The symptoms persist and can be severe, causing problems at school, at home, and with friends. A kid diagnosed with ADHD may chatter too much, fidget, make careless missteps or take needless risks, have issues with getting along with others, contemplate, can be forgetful or lose stuff and have a difficult time avoiding temptation (National Centre on Birth Defects and Development Disabilities 2020). Although the cause and risk factors for ADHD are unclear, recent research indicates that heredity plays a significant influence. A medical evaluation, including hearing and vision testing, is one stage in the process to rule out other disorders with symptoms such as ADHD. A checklist for assessing ADHD symptoms and obtaining a history of the kid from parents, teachers, and, in certain cases, the child are used to diagnose ADHD. ADHD is usually best treated with a mix of behaviour therapy and medication. Behaviour therapy, particularly parent training, is suggested as the first line of treatment for preschool-aged children (ages 4-5) with ADHD before medication is taken. What works best for the child and family may vary (National Centre on Birth Defects and Development Disabilities 2021). The NHS England (2015:8) put out that ADHD affects about 3-5% of children and 2% of adults and is more common in males than females (4:1). Girls with ADHD may present with less hyperactivity than boys and subsequently may be less easily identified in primary care settings.

Exclusion from schools for children with ADHD:

Children who have ADHD tend to be given up on easily and exclusion is automatically seen as an easy option. O’Regan (2010:1) defined exclusion as an opportunity for full-time alternative education arrangements to be made. These can include transfer to another school managed by the local education authority (LEA), or in some cases, education outside of the school environment within a pupil referral unit. In most cases, ADHD symptoms aren’t reported to superiors or the individuals parentguardians and left undealt with. O’Regan (2010:7) relates that considering the relatively high prevalence of ADHD among school-age children in the United Kingdom, it is plausible that many children excluded from schools for disruptive behaviour are showing symptoms of unidentified, untreated, or poorly managed ADHD. As soon as teachers see any symptoms or alarming behaviour they must immediately communicate this with the superiors and parentguardians of the pupil so it can be identified and dealt with properly, instead of assuming the pupil is purposefully misbehaving or acting out. O’Regan (2010:5) mentioned that those with SEN with full statements (a legal document that sets out a child’s SEN and the type of support that the LEA considers necessary) and those with some SEN support without statements are over eight times more likely to be permanently excluded than pupils with no SEN. It is apparent that children SENADHD are treated unfairly compared to those without SEN, despite those with SEN having a reason for their disruptive behaviour or showing symptoms of ADHD. The children with SEN need to be recognised by teachers in order to avoid exclusion and teachers need to be appropriately trained on how to spot ADHD symptoms and how to deal with it.

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ADHD on stigma and social rejection :

The word stigma has been used for years. Bellanca and Pote (2013:2) defined stigma as refers to any characteristic that marks a group or individual as different. ADHD is often perceived under a negative light and has been stigmatised over time. Bellanca and Pote (2013:3) stated that research has found that children with ADHD, depression and LD are stigmatised and have lower peer status than those without such difficulties. Low peer status can lead to peer rejection which can make it harder for the individual with ADHD to fit in and feel involved and perhaps intensify the externalising actions associated with ADHD. In addition, Bell, Garvan and Bussing (2011:3) mentioned that ADHD had the highest social rejection rate. With that being said, this supports the point that children with ADHD face social rejection which can deteriorate the individuals mental health and can possibly cause them to struggle to make friends or fit in. To elaborate, Nguyen and Hinshaw (2020:4) mentioned unsurprisingly, children with ADHD are also recipients of stigmatisation from their peers. For example, compared to children with normal issues and depression, children with ADHD were more stigmatised both explicitly (e.g., targets of anger, fear, and social distance) and implicitly (e.g., receivers of negative attitudes). In order to reduce the stigmatisation from peers, teachers need to enforce more lessons raising awareness of disorders like ADHD and educate them on the matter. Finally, schools need to encourage other peers to work with others, including peers with ADHD and ask them to work together, mix up and not stick to the usual groups. Nguyen and Hinshaw (2020:5) added peers of children with ADHD tended to make fun of them behind their back and were unwilling to work with them on school projects or even have lunch together. It can be seen that ADHD has been heavily stigmatised and although it isn’t visible at all times, peers still seem to have something against the idea of someone having ADHD and more needs to be done so those who have ADHD do not feel marginalised. Foucault’s concept of the clinical gaze meant that it could generate new disorders by simply telling them (diagnoses du jour: ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, BESD) and those labelled in this way started to become the features of the condition. This is why it is important that teachers are properly trained to be able to correctly identify ADHD symptom and not anyone who is misbehaving and disruptive.

ADHD Related Context:

The UK government introduced the SEND (special educational needs or disabilities) policy in 2014. The Department for Education introduced the SEND 2014 policy in order to offer an advanced support system for those with SEND by firstly, creating a corresponding evaluation procedure to determine a child’s necessities throughout education, health and care. Secondly, adding the option of customised budgets for people with an EHC plan, allowing them to pick which services are suitable for them and their household. Also, ensuring that local officials work closely in the interests of children and young people with SEND, as well as increasing communication between different agencies. Finally, to guarantee that children’s special educational needs are recognised, assessed, and met. The UK government has invested in over £42 million in funding has been extended for projects aimed at raising educational standards, improving services, and providing practical assistance to disadvantaged families and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Additionally, The multi-million pound package of help and support includes more than £27 million for the Family Fund, which assists low-income parents raising children with serious illnesses or disabilities with the cost of equipment, goods, or services ranging from washing machines and refrigerators to sensory and academic materials that they may not have been able to afford otherwise (GOV.UK 2021). The topic or discussion of ADHD is seen as taboo and this issue may often result in individuals placing themselves or children in another category of a disorder. Deenuka Kasinather (2018:1) agrees by adding the stigma of ADHD in adulthood has become so taboo, that patients rarely bring it up with their primary physicians and fit their presentation into another subsect of mental illness. The ADHD spectrum is so broad with overlapping symptoms, yet so poorly understood. ADHD needs to be more spoken about and that not all aspects of it are negative and that there are treatments and help available. ADHD has many positive aspects to it, despite it having a bad image. Some positive aspects involve individuals being clear at communicating themselves, quick to put what they study into practice, great at seeing the entire picture, exciting to be around, passionate, curious, entertaining, creative and spirited (Department of Education 2015:8).

Support Needs of ADHD:

ADDISS (The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service) offers information and resources regarding ADHD and the various treatments available, involving behavioural therapy, medication, individual counselling, and special education. On the other hand, you have the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group. This support group aims to offer solutions and help to families who have children that are diagnosed with ADHD by offering important information specifically concerning hyperactivityADHD and regime. The ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity is the national charity in the UK, and the most leading ADHD charity within Europe. The charity aims to support a neurodiverse standard for people with ADHD in health, employment and education. The ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity (2020) added that they as a charity are working in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers, government and other agencies, the ADHD Foundation actively promotes a strength-based approach to living successfully with ADHD and other neurodiverse minds, such as, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism spectrum, dyscalculia and Tourette’s syndrome. The ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity offer professional guidance and consultancy facilities within the UK and for international schools and agencies. And finally, in the North West of England area, they offer a special combined health and education lifespan multi-modal service, presenting NICESIGN guidelines, educational, psychological and medical interventions cross the duration (ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity 2020).

Evidence of the voices people living with ADHD:

I watched an interview on YouTube on two children, one with ADHD and the other without. Both children were 6 years old and were in year 2. The child with ADHD mentioned she doesn’t like school, sometimes struggles with homework, doesn’t have a lot of friends (feels lonely), sometimes gets bullied and throughout the interview most of her answers were I don’t know and sometimes. The child with ADHD also mentioned how sometimes I’m bad and give attitude to my mum. The interviewer asked why do you think you give attitude and the girl replied I don’t know, sometimes I just get into moods, depends on how good the day is. Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer asked the child with ADHD what do you want other kids like your age to know about the kids who have ADHD. The girl replied people like me with ADHD are better at listening and that they could help them by telling them whatever you do it’s still right because you tried your best. To add on, the other child who was a boy without ADHD showed opposite answers to the girl with ADHD and was more confident with his responses.


In conclusion, this essay has discussed three key areas of ADHD and reviewed relevant policies in the UK. When teachers are fully trained, they’ll be able to identify any ADHD or other SEND symptoms and know how to appropriately take action. On the other hand, the education system needs major improvement with exclusion and inclusion. The education system need to come up with a better solution to exclusion for dealing with students that have ADHD or need extra support, instead of seeing exclusion the first and only option. We also saw that ADHD has a negative stigma in the UK and many other countries. It is therefore recommended that schools and parents education the children and themselves on the positive aspects of ADHD and other SENDs. Finally, people need to be aware that not all disabilities are visible and to think twice about what they’re going to say to someone in case that individual has a disability.

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Analytical Essay on Key Areas of ADHD and Review of Relevant Policies in the UK. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from
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