Schools Get Failing Grades When Teaching ADHD Kids

A national survey shows schools are not meeting the needs of ADHD children.

Schools Get Failing Grades, Part 2

"Another reason the problem exists is that most teachers as well as administrators would like to pretend that ADHD students don't exist,unless, they are acutely involved with a student or relative. It is only then that the administrator or teacher becomes aware of the need to learn more about these special kids," says a Florida teacher.

An occupational therapist notes, "Most programs other than special ed. programs simply do not focus on the specific kinds of disabilities like ADHD."

"I am a special-education teacher and the mother of an 18-year-old son who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6 years old. I have dealt with the education system in Texas trying to educate other teachers about his condition. I have been met with resistance by many of my fellow educators who simply do not believe in ADHD. They think it is a fashionable excuse for a parent to get a child out of trouble. I have had to deal with "professionals" who refuse to follow modifications set forth in a 504 plan. They were convinced that my child was acting out on purpose to irritate them. Many of my fellow educators are totally uneducated on the subject and seem less than willing to help work out a reasonable plan of action. My education in the special-education field certainly did not prepare me for dealing with ADHD students, but I learned through researching all sides of the issue, things that were beneficial, not only to my son, but to other students that I encounter daily."

If ADHD is the question, what's the answer?

A Texas administrator responds, "I feel it is time to inform teachers that whether or not they wish to agree, that there are students with many different disabilities, and they are not students [who] act this was because they want to. Teachers need to realize that they are legally obligated to follow modifications and make accommodations for any student with any disability. Parents should not have to resort to using the law to see that their child is being appropriately served. They must realize that all students are entitled to a free, appropriate public education. Principals and superintendents need insist that the laws be followed and that all students receive the best the teacher has to offer. Special education and 504 law should be as familiar to teachers as how to teach within their area of expertise."

"Full responsibility for meeting the needs of ADHD can not be left with the school. We encounter some parents who are in deep denial about their child's needs. Parents must work as partners with schools rather than adopt an adversarial role," says a Texas teacher.

"Mandatory training especially for the administrators. Mandatory documented involvement with students who are ADHD, especially by administrators. I recently spoke with a parent of an ADHD student. She told me how her child was treated by an administrator. It was appalling.This is not an isolated incident either. The school districts, colleges and universities should provide Professional development, in services and workshops on ADHD," adds a Houston teacher.

A Texas administrator concurs, "I think districts should provide more training on the latest research to administrators and teachers so that these data could be used to more accurately address individual student's needs."

The data reflect a gaping hole in the educational fabric of our nation. Training beginning at the university level and continuing at the local level through ongoing in services is a good start. This may enable administrators and teachers to effectively address ADHD students and abide by federal law. Furthermore, current research and technology can empower educators to provide a success-based environment for ADHD students.

The responses also indicate that change is possible provided educators and parents work together. One Texas administrator remains optimistic, "Hopefully, this is beginning to change. I see more compassion for these students and the difficulties they experience daily in school."

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