Understanding the experiences of adolescent girls with ADHD : a case study

Jacobs, Lianie (2014-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders diagnosed amongst children. Research regarding the experiences of adolescent girls with ADHD is sparse. The symptoms of the disorder seem to manifest differently in girls than in boys. Girls show symptoms of hyper-talkativeness, emotional reactivity, forgetfulness, disorganisation, low self-esteem and anxiety. Failing to identify these symptoms among girls results in many of them going through their primary and secondary school careers not ever being diagnosed. They are often misunderstood and consequently rarely receive the necessary support. Adolescents diagnosed with ADHD find it difficult to manage the pressures of academics and interpersonal relationships. Due to the small number of female participants in previous studies regarding this topic, there is little known about the effects of ADHD on adolescent girls. Gaining a better understanding of the effects on girls with ADHD can lead to improved identification of girls with this disorder and more effective interventions and support can be sought. The aim of this interpretive study was to explore how the symptoms of ADHD affect the academic performance, as well as peer and family relationships of adolescent girls in order to develop more informed intervention strategies and to train teachers to accommodate their learning needs. Seven adolescent girls with ADHD were purposefully selected to participate in four individual interviews and one focus group interview. The participants designed reality boxes to signify their own understanding and experience of ADHD and the perceived effect on their academic performance, peer relationships and family relationships. The transcribed data were coded and categorised according to six broad themes that framed the study, i.e. explaining the ADHD symptoms, ADHD in school, ADHD in relationships, coping strategies for ADHD, influence of medication on experience of ADHD and people without ADHD. This thesis presents how the participants made meaning of ADHD and constructed their identities, how they coped as well as how they could be supported in schools. Although symptoms like talkativeness, impulsivity and lack of time-management impact their learning and relationships, they feel accommodated and accepted by friends and family. However, teachers often misunderstand their behavior and therefore don’t accommodate their learning needs. Their recommendations for support will be discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Aandag-tekort/hiperaktiwiteit versteuring (ATHV) is een van die mees algemene versteurings wat gediagnoseer word onder kinders. Navorsing met betrekking tot die ervarings van adolessente dogters met ATHV is skaars. Dit blyk asof die simptome van hierdie versteuring verskillend manifesteer in dogters as in seuns. Dogters toon simptome soos oormatige spraaksaamheid, emosionele reaktiwiteit, vergeetagtigheid, wanorde, lae selfkonsep en angstigheid. Deurdat hierdie simptome onder dogters nie altyd diagnoseer word nie, lei dit daartoe dat baie van hierdie dogters regdeur hul laer- en hoërskoolloopbane gaan sonder om ooit gediagnoseer te word. Hulle word dikwels misverstaan wat voorkom dat hulle die nodige ondersteuning ontvang. Adolossente wat met ATHV gediagnoseer word vind dit moeilik om die druk van akademie en interpersoonlike verhoudinge te hanteer. Daar bestaan min kennis omtrent die effek van ATHV op adolossente dogters weens die klein getal vroulike deelnemers aan vorige studies wat op hierdie onderwerp gefokus het. Deur ‘n beter begrip te verkry omtrent die effek van ATHV op adolossente dogters, kan dit lei tot ‘n beter identifisering van dogters met hierdie versteuring wat kan lei tot beter effektiewe intervensie en ondersteuning. Die doel van hierdie interpretatiewe studie was om die effek van die simptome van ATHV op akademiese prestasie, asook die portuurgroep en familie verhoudinge van adolossente dogters te verken. So kan intervensiestrategieë beter ingelig word en kan onderwysers opgelei word om hierdie kinders, met hul leerbehoeftes, te akkommodeer. Sewe adolessente dogters met ATHV is doelbewus geselekteer om deel te neem aan vier individuele onderhoude en een fokusgroep onderhoud. Die deelnemers het realiteitsbokse ontwerp wat hul eie begrip en ondervinge van ATHV verteenwoordig. Die bokse het ook aangedui hoe hierdie dogters die effek van ATHV op hul akademiese prestasie, portuurgroep en familie verhoudinge ervaar. Die data is transkribeer, kodeer en gekategoriseer volgens ses breë onderwerpe, nl. verduideliking van ATHV simptome, ATHV op skool, ATHV in verhoudinge, strategieë om ATHV te hanteer, invloed van medikasie op die ervaring van ATHV en mense sonder ATHV. Hierdie navorsingstudie beskryf hoe die deelnemers betekenis gee aan ATHV en hoe hulle hul eie identiteite konstrueer, hoe hulle dit hanteer sowel as hoe hulle ondersteun kan word in die skool. Hulle is van mening dat hulle wel geakkommodeer en aanvaar word deur vriende en familie, ten spyte van die simptome soos oormatige spraaksaamheid, impulsiwiteit en ‘n tekort aan tydsbeplanning. Hulle voel wel dat onderwysers dikwels hul gedrag misverstaan en dus nie hul leerbehoeftes ondersteun nie. Hul aanbevelings ten opsigte van ondersteuning word ook bespreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96046
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