The Impact of Interventions on Students with ADHD

We are Jamie MacNutt and Katie Panzer and we are both Sociology majors. Jamie is also an Early Education major, and Katie is an education minor, and we are in the class of 2020. For our sociology senior seminar we were able to create and conduct our own research project. Our idea sparked from the fact that we both had personal experiences with learning disabilities and the fact that we both want to be future educators. With our research we were able to see the impact that interventions can have on an individual inside and outside of the classroom, socially, and emotionally. We hope to bring what we learned through our research to our future jobs in the field of education.

The goal of our research was to find answers to this question: In talking to individuals with ADHD who have received various types of interventions, how, if at all, do they think those interventions have affected their education and or sense of self? We answered this question by conducting 11 In-depth interviews. The questions asked were about the diagnosis process, familial support, views on education and their intervention, experiences with teachers, and social and emotional experiences. 

We had four main findings. Our first was that no matter the age that the individual was diagnosed at, they were all immediately put on medication with little to no other types of intervention. Our next finding was that a majority of individuals experienced a boost in grades and academic achievements due to their medical intervention, but their social and emotional states suffered. Next we found that individuals diagnosed over the age of 16 were more positively impacted by medication compared to those diagnosed at a younger age. This includes socially, emotionally, and academically. Our last finding was that the individuals that did mention normalcy and social stigma were aware that society typically tends to view mental health and learning disabilities in a negative light which, in turn, had affected them and the way they view themselves, academically and socially. 

As future educators we found it important to research the social and emotional effects that interventions can have on these younger and sometimes older individuals so that we can better understand them, and what they are going through, in order to support them the best we can.