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Boise State professors tackle issues surrounding ADHD

According to the American Psychiatric Association, three to seven percent of all school-aged children in America have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Thankfully, there are ways to treat ADHD and faculty here at Boise State are working together with the Lee Pesky Learning Center to do so.

Evelyn Johnson, professor of special education and director of the Lee Pesky Learning Center at Boise State, will be appearing on a panel in Haley, Idaho this Sunday to discuss the topic.

The panel will be following the Company of Fools off broadway production of “Distracted,” a play that centers around an 8-year-old boy with ADHD and the problems that he and his family face.  The play will begin at 3 p.m. and the panel will take place upon its conclusion.

The Company of Fools is an award-winning community theater company based out of Haley, Idaho. The company began in 1992 in Virginia and relocated to Idaho in 1996.

“The play is really nice because in a really short amount of time really highlights all of the potential difficulties that a person with ADHD has and how that impacts family, friends and other interactions,” Johnson said. “It’s funny, touching and heart warming.  It is really well-written.”

The Company of Fools invited Johnson to be a resource for teachers and parents who may attend the play and have concerns about children with ADHD. Johnson expressed her excitement about educating the community on the matter.

“It’s in line with the university’s commitment to community involvement,” Johnson said.

Sunday, Feb. 22 is the Company of Fool’s education day in which multiple teachers and parents will be attending. Johnson believes those teachers and parents will benefit by learning about the disease and how it can be treated.

“We anticipate that people will have a lot of questions regarding the signs of ADHD and the resources available to those families with children that have it,” Johnson said.

ADHD includes some combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school.

“I think that schools should be a place where every student feels like they are valued. If you think about how much time a kid feels in school from the time they are five until graduation, if you go there and don’t feel valued, that can be detrimental to your self esteem,” Johnson said. “It can be life changing. If there is something we can do for kids that can help them feel valued, I think there is is a huge potential for being able to impact a person’s life in a positive way.”

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Mallory is currently a junior at Boise State studying English and Communications with a minor in Political Science. Mallory is the editor for the News section of The Arbiter. She is also the anchor for The Arbiter Minute.