Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Sandra Cimbricz

Abstract

This research explores what students diagnosed with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) identify as important helping them learn in grades K-12 and beyond. Without the provision of appropriate supports and strategies, students diagnosed with ADHD are at a greater risk of dropping out of high school. The official definition of ADHD has been a moving target and this, in turn, has led to confusion about what ADHD ‘is” and the educational supports that appropriately help students diagnosed with ADHD learn (American Psychiatric Association, 1980; American Psychiatric Association, 1994; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Moreover, efforts to understand what supports help students with ADHD tend to ignore one key population: the students themselves. The purpose of this qualitative research is to develop a deeper understanding of what supports students with ADHD deem(ed) helpful to learning by drawing on the information that the students, themselves, provide (Creswell, 2012, p. 206). In-depth interviews were conducted with three students formally diagnosed as ‘having’ ADHD. Data was then analyzed so that overall supports and strategies across cases could be identified. The theme of this data analysis was that medication may help students in college but not as much in the K through 12 classrooms. Testing accommodations was another theme throughout all of these interviews. All participants talked about how teachers need to work with students individually, and that they did not provide them with adequate “accommodations.” Future implications suggest professional development on interventions and medications, supporting a student based on individual needs, and more research conducted about strategies and supports that would be beneficial for students with ADHD.

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