Using the Arts to Foster Emotional Regulation for Grades Four to Ten Students With ADHD and Attention and/or Hyperactivity Challenges: A Multiple Case Study

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Docrat, Yaara
ADHD , Self-Regulation , Emotional Regulation , Emotional Self-Regulation , Arts Education , Junior-Intermediate
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common child mental health disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Students with attention and/or hyperactivity challenges (AHC) may have deficits in executive functions (EFs) which are required for self-regulation (McClelland & Cameron, 2012) and may be important in managing impulses and emotions in classroom contexts (Rapp-Paglicci, Rowe, & Stewart, 2011). Emotions can trigger a cascading effect in the body and mind making it difficult to self-regulate (Shanker, 2013). Therefore, it is valuable to provide students with emotional regulation (ER) strategies before and during their youth, so they have a skillset to be more successful at school and in life. The potential of the arts to support students’ ER has not been fully explored. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how students with AHC experience the arts and ER at school. A multiple case study approach (Stake, 2013) was used to illuminate this phenomenon across six cases: three junior-intermediate (JI) teachers who teach or have taught students with ADHD or AHC and three JI students with ADHD. A semi-structured virtual interview was conducted with each participant separately. Thomas’ (2006) general inductive qualitative approach was used for data analysis. Findings unpack how teachers’ pedagogical orientations influenced them to facilitate and prepare students with AHC to leverage the arts for ER. Additionally, the data showed how the arts can emotionally regulate these students and times where the arts can lead to dysregulation. This research has the potential to benefit multiple stakeholders including students with AHC, JI teachers, and policy-makers.
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