Parents and educators are often the first to notice that a learner is not coping in the school setting and is displaying certain disruptive behavioural aspects associated with a diagnosis of ADHD. For many parents this behaviour and resulting diagnosis of ADHD comes as a shock and they do not understand where it originates from, how it manifests within each individual or how to manage these symptoms successfully. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic, neurodevelopmental disorder with no cure that can be identified according to the criteria laid out in the DSM-V (2013). Although no longer diagnosed as a learning disorder per se, ADHD is associated with several co-morbid conditions such as learning disabilities and psychological conditions that have a negative effect on learning (DSM-V, 2013:59). The goal of this study was to explore and describe the effect of Gestalt group work on the behavioural aspects associated with ADHD among adolescents in a school setting. Gestalt play therapy and in particular Gestalt group work, was employed in order to assist the adolescent diagnosed with ADHD in managing these disruptive behaviours. The research was conducted with adolescents in a secondary school in Gauteng. These adolescents were diagnosed with ADHD and were often singled out as being disruptive within the classroom. The population for this study was adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 years, previously diagnosed with ADHD, who formed part of a specific school community. The researcher made use of non-probability sampling; specifically purposive and volunteer sampling. Seven adolescents were selected to take part in the quantitative research study, over a period of eight sessions (Strydom & Delport, 2011:392). The study was exploratory in nature and the type of research was applied research. The research design that was appropriate was the single-system design, seeing that this design enhances the link between research and practice (Strydom, 2011a:160). A standardised check list, the 'Current ADHD symptoms scale self-report' was used to obtain information by means of a pretest, mid-point and posttest measurement. This is a standardised measuring instrument that has been developed and tested through empirical methods of instrument development (Adler, Spencer, Faraone, Kessler, Howes, Biederman & Secnik, 2006). The data collected for this study was analysed statistically, through the univariate method of analysis. Computerised worksheets in Excel enabled the researcher to structure findings and to make the most valid and objective recommendations through organised interpretation of data collected (Fouchè & Bartley, 2011). Findings were presented graphically and illustrated in figures. All relevant ethical considerations were considered, for example participants provided informed assent, while their parents provided informed consent for the research to be conducted. Gestalt play provided for theme-based group sessions, assisting participants in recognising as well as mastering positive behaviour, as an alternative to the disruptive behavioural aspect of this condition. The research provided useful research data with regards to the use of both group work and Gestalt play techniques in assisting the adolescent with ADHD in addressing their disruptive behaviour. Gestalt group work as method of intervention seemed to have a positive effect on disruptive behaviour related to ADHD. The group as a whole had improved their behaviour for both the characteristics of ADHD. Behavioural aspects characterised by inattention, as well as hyperactivity and impulsivity for the group of respondents, had improved through the application of Gestalt play techniques. The group of respondents therefore perceived that they had benefited in terms of the improvement of these behavioural aspects of ADHD. It is recommended that educators, parents and caregivers be trained regarding ADHD in order to comprehend the nature of this disorder and the impact thereof on the learner and fellow learners in the classroom. Learners should become aware of their diagnosis, the symptoms and the disruptive element of their behaviour, the impact that this behaviour has in the classroom, as well as the resources available for the adolescent in addressing challenges.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2017.