Children with ADHD struggle to recognise their parents’ facial expressions.
For a typical child with a normally developing brain, the right half is responsible for responding to the happy and angry expressions on the faces of their parents. But for children with ADHD conditions, response is only elicited by a parent’s happy face.
Impending Social Problems
The measurement of hemodynamic responses of the brain conducted by a collaborative research of Professors Ryusuke Kakigi and Masami K. Yamaguchi reveals the possibility that children with ADHD may recognize their parents’ and teachers’ facial expressions differently than typical children.
The research also opens the probability of children with ADHD encountering social problems because of their diminished ability to recognize facial expressions of other people. This is compounded by the fact that many people do not appreciate the impulsive, inattentive, and hyperactive behaviour of these children.
Research Study studying ADHD, facial expressions and parents.
Relying on non-invasive near-infrared spectroscopy technology to measure brain responses, the research group showed 13 children with ADHD condition different images of happy and angry expressions.
The concentration of the distribution of oxygen to the actively working nerve cells (oxyhemoglobin) dictated the strength of the light. Children without ADHD demonstrated significant hemodynamic response from the right side of the brain to both happy and angry expressions.
This is contrary to the hemodynamic responses of children with an ADHD condition who only showed significant brain activity for happy expressions and none for angry expressions.
Social impairment and poor peer relationships may therefore be the result of this indifferent neural recognition of facial expressions among children with ADHD.
Counteracting Negative Labeling and Blame.
There is a need to counteract negative labelling to categorize children, as this can result in long-term damages to the lives of these young individuals.
Anatomy of a Label
Labels abound in our daily lives even in our highest educational institutions. In fact, the educational system makes use of labels to categorize the behaviour, education, and academic abilities of children. The intention mostly is to identify the requirement of additional support; but, the growing concern from parents, pupils, and even educators may be well founded.
We often hear words like “disruptive”, “behavioural difficulties”, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and others. All of these are labels that can follow into the categories of medical, administrative, or informal.
The Controversy of Labeling
In society, regardless whether the label is formal or informal, it is used to measure and determine the type of support that the child needs. Often, ADHD children that are part of minority groups become victimized by labels especially when it comes to behavioural disorder conditions.
The controversy on the use of labelling arises from the complex yet established fact that it can result to stigmatisation. Within the educational institutions itself, such labels often make the child a target of bullying or worse; being maligned or marginalized.
Such labelling also tends to relegate the strengths and capabilities of these children to the sidelines. As they begin to develop and excel, the negative reputations tend to stay with them for the rest of their lives. Although they are part of the identity of the child, it does not result in the fullness of the child. Most of the time, the labels create an unjust influence on how people perceive or interpret the actions of these children.
Relying on Active Listening
There is no question that the whole aspect of labelling can be quite tricky even for experienced educators as well as long-time parents. Observing labelled children is not enough, it is important to actively listen to them to have a better understanding of their experiences.
It can be to the best interest of the ADHD child to ask how they feel about the entire labelling process in general. When used within the confines of the educational system, it is necessary for these children to have a say in decisions that impact their learning including the educational plans for them.
Aside from research works that show how these children value being listened to, they can also offer important educational insights based on actual experiences. This can lead to a drastic improvement in the educational process of children with behavioural conditions.
Challenging the established ways with active listening will open up the reality that these students are as capable as any other in understanding their educational needs. More gains can be achieved when this is done in partnership with parents, professionals, and educators. Support from educators will empower these students as well as protect them from the harmful effects of labelling.
Positive Labeling for children with ADHD and ADD.
As with anything, labels can be considered as a double-edged sword that impacts the lives of these young children.
Some may take the label “ADHD” as something negative, but this can actually help parents find relief from blame and guilt. When used as a label of compassion, it increases educator tolerance of the behaviour of these children.
Positive labelling can also bring closer children that share the same experiences resulting in a supportive peer group and positive group identity. These positive labels may pave the way to allow children with behavioural conditions to receive additional help not only in terms of medical needs, but also within the classroom or family environment.
One of the best ways to counteract the negative impact of labelling is to ensure that it facilitates inter-professional cooperation that will benefit and provide the needs of ADHD children. In fact, positive labels can lead to professional development opportunities that can be implemented as part of effective teaching techniques.
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