Multiple intelligence profiles of learners with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Van Niekerk, Surika
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Although Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent childhood disorders, occurring in about three to five percent of the school-going population, there is a dearth of information in literature concerning ADHD learners' intellectual strengths and weaknesses and concomitant learning preferences. An abundance of literature sources can, however, be traced dealing with ADHD learners' behavioural and scholastic problems. Because of this predominantly negative focus on ADHD, these learners are often misunderstood and didactically neglected by teachers in regular classrooms. In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed a new model for understanding intelligence, namely the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Ml). He stated that a person can be intelligent in more than one way and identified eight intelligences, namely linguistic-verbal, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, musical, bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. Ml theory provides teachers with a positive model for understanding, supporting and accommodating ADHD learners better in classrooms. The aims of the research were to determine: - what the Ml profiles of ADHD learners reveal in terms of their intellectual strengths and weaknesses; - whether the Ml profiles of ADHD and non-ADHD learners differ significantly; and - what the implications of ADHD learners' Ml profiles are for their teaching and learning. With a view to achieve these aims, a literature study and an empirical investigation were undertaken. The literature study focussed on ADHD, Ml theory and its implications for the teaching and learning of ADHD learners. In the empirical section of the research, a self-report questionnaire (MIDAS-KIDS) was administered to a group of ADHD and non-ADHD learners who attend five Section 21 primary schools (ex-model C schools) in the D12 school district (Roodepoort) of the Gauteng Province. The data was statistically analysed and the following findings were made: - The Ml profile of the ADHD learners revealed no visible intellectual strengths and weaknesses. - With the exception of Writing and Reading, no differences of real practical significance were observed in the Ml profiles of the ADHD and non-ADHD participants. The following conclusions were drawn, based on these findings: - The MIDAS-KIDS is a measure of perceived intellectual disposition and because factors such as positive illusory bias (PIB) may cause disparities between ADHD learners' perceived and demonstrated intellectual competence, Ml profiles need to be reviewed and interpreted carefully against the backdrop of other diagnostic information when decisions are made with regard to ADHD learners' intellectual strengths and weaknesses. - Although with the exception of Writing and Reading, no differences of real practical significance were observed in the Ml profiles of the ADHD and non-ADHD learners, it is still important that teachers and other professionals take cognisance of Ml theory and its application potential for the optimal intellectual development of ADHD and other learners in classrooms.
- Education