Childhood: Clinical and School Psychology - Example Essay

Which treatments are effective for ADHD?

Elementary school teachers in the Netherlands are increasingly experiencing burnout symptoms (DUO Onderwijsonderzoek, 2016). This makes it likely that the quality of education will suffer, with teachers mainly pointing out that having too many students in a classroom in need of additional assistance due to some form of psychopathology is increasing the workload (DUO Onderwijsonderzoek, 2016). One fairly common issue – at three to seven percent of the children in a classroom – is the presence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder in which a child mainly presents with problems controlling impulses, remaining concentrated on the task at hand, and hyperactivity (Wilmhurst, 2015; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). Next to making the already challenging task of an elementary teacher more straining, the disorder is associated with a range of negative outcomes, such as the presence of comorbid disorders, family problems and substance abuse (DUO Onderwijsonderzoek, 2016; Wilmhurst, 2015). To minimize these adverse effects and alleviate some of the workload of educators, it is essential to tackle this disorder (DUO Onderwijsonderzoek, 2016; Wilmhurst, 2015; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019).

ADHD is a persistent and heterogeneous disorder that consists of several subtypes (Wilmhurst, 2015). While it may be useful to tailor interventions to these subtypes (Barnard, Stevens, To, Lan, & Mulsow, 2009; Abikoff, 2001), the best results in treating ADHD may be obtained by targeting the theorized causes of ADHD as knowledge of the mechanisms of change allows for optimization of an intervention (Moldovan & Pintean, 2015; Kangaslampi & Peltonen, 2019). According to the dual pathway model of ADHD (Sonuga-Barke, 2002), the disorder consists of deficits in executive function and impairments in the motivational and reward system. The former pathway is reflected in both symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity (Franke et al., 2018; Dovis, van der Oord, Wiers, & Prins, 2012) and inattention (Franke et al., 2018) while the latter pathway is mainly associated with hyperactive and impulsive symptoms (Boyer, 2021). Following this model, it may be that interventions tailored to either of these pathways are useful in ameliorating ADHD symptoms.

Steiner, Frenette, Rene, Brennan, and Perin (2014) compared two interventions – both of which are aimed at reducing ADHD symptoms by improving executive functioning – with each other and a control group. The definition

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