Diagnosing ADHD: Teacher Input Overlooked?
Parents of Children Diagnosed With ADHD Sound Off in Survey
Oct. 21, 2009 -- Pediatricians are most often involved in the diagnosis of
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, but many do not get
recommended input from teachers before rendering a diagnosis, Consumer
Reports says in a parent survey about their children with ADHD.
The survey of parents of 934 children diagnosed with ADHD revealed:
- 69% of diagnoses of ADHD involved pediatricians, compared with 45% by a
child psychiatrist, 26% by a child psychologist, 24% by a school psychologist,
and 16% by master’s degree level experts in learning disabilities.
- 56% of children were prescribed medication immediately after
- Nearly a third of parents (32%) said teachers did not complete
questionnaires about their children.
- Professionals did not interview teachers in 44% of the cases and didn’t
observe the child in a classroom 53% of the time. Consumer Reports says
such omissions “undermine the goal that most parents have in seeking help in
the first place.”
- Only 70% of children receiving an ADHD diagnosis had a physical exam, and
only 52% were given hearing tests.
The survey also found that:
- 45% of parents felt more confident about their child’s future after a
diagnosis, but 24% were “disheartened” and more worried afterward.
- 65% of parents said after diagnosis they were left without a clear plan for
managing their child’s condition, more than half lacked a clear understanding
of their youngster’s strengths and weaknesses, and only 42% said they felt they
had a professional with whom they could talk about future concerns.
- 17% of parents were not convinced after diagnosis that their child really
Many symptoms of ADHD occur with other conditions, and children who are
diagnosed may have additional disorders, Consumer Reports says. Only 32%
of the study population had ADHD alone, 29% had ADHD plus oppositional defiant
disorder and/or conduct disorder, 14% had ADHD plus anxiety or depression, and
25% had all three disorders.
When asked what parents would tell another parent:
- 46% reported to be prepared for the time needed for parent-teacher
discussions about your child’s classroom work and behavior.
- 38% reported to be prepared for the time needed for meetings with doctors
- 28% reported to be prepared that the attention given to your child with
ADHD may negatively impact other relationships within your household.
- 24% recommended to seek out support groups and other ADHD resources.