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Oak Leaves

March 3, 2017

Coulter-Kern, Rusty

Dr. Russel Coulter-Kern, professor of psychology

Coulter-Kern Discusses ADHD Stigma


Tanner Edge


Psychology professor Russel Coulter-Kern addressed the elements of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in the upper Jo Young Switzer Center on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

ADHD isn’t a real medical condition, a controversial myth that is a hot topic. “There are some things that are true, but there are still some things that we don’t know about,” Coulter-Kern said. It is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity.
 
Russel emphasized that there are three components to ADHD: the first being inattention, the second being hyperactivity and the third being impulsivity. During his presentation, Coulter-Kern tackled ways one might be able to combat these components positively.
  
Psychologically, getting students with ADHD to think differently about their circumstances can help control the problem. “We want our children to have a positive identity and sense of self,” Coulter-Kern said. There is a strong genetic influence associated with ADHD. Children with this diagnosis are found to have a brain size 3-4 % smaller from the average child’s brain who does not have it. “We can now identify certain genes that can help the evaluation process when diagnosing ADHD.

“Since 1800, people have been talking about symptoms that we classify as ADHD symptoms today,” Coulter-Kern said. In today’s society, there are more treatment and therapy options for ADHD. The most commonly used and stimulating medicines are Ritalin and Adderall, both used as treatments, in addition to the non-stimulate called Strattera.
 
People diagnosed with ADHD may have more options than they think. “Helping students identify their strengths and weaknesses, I think is an important thing,” Coulter-Kern said. He said that education and training had a lot to do with the success of students with ADHD. Parenting skills training as well as stress managing techniques are found to be helpful in some situations. The biggest thing is to simply turn ADHD away from being portrayed as a negative in the public eye and turn it into a positive by taking the necessary steps.