Schools Get Failing Grades When Teaching ADHD Kids

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


Filed Under: Diagnosing Children with ADHD, For Teachers of ADHD Children, Myths About ADHD

A national survey of over 250 superintendents, directors, principals, and teachers performed by Unique Logic + Technology finds that only 22% of the respondents believe their school accommodates the needs of ADHD students and only 19% indicated that their college or university adequately prepared them to teach these students. According to the report that was released in early January, many of the respondents admitted ignoring the ADHD problem and ignoring federal laws. (Unique Logic + Technology manufactures the Play Attention integrated learning system.)

A Texas school administrator says, "I also see a need for the university to address this in teacher prep programs. It would be tremendously helpful for new teachers to have a factual base on ADHD, so they may dispel some of the myths that are associated with this disorder."

A university educator responds, "When I was in school (graduate), people didn't really talk about ADHD. It was seen almost as a new diagnosis. Children were still "grouped" as LD. It appears that every 5 or so years we get a new vogue diagnosis. This further compounds the problem in that children are given a label simply because that's what people are studying at the time; sort of a you see what you want to see and get what you expect phenomenon. (If you are thinking ADHD, you'll come to a diagnosis of ADHD simply because that's what you expected.)

Responses indicate that there is a disconnection between the university and the teachers it trains as this Florida teacher points out, "A problem that I found in the university system. The teachers teaching are only theory based professors. They do not have hands on experience with ADHD kids, so they are working with ideas presented by other people. There is a world of difference."

Receiving poor training at the university level has also contributed to confusion among educators regarding effective teaching methods for ADHD students. Only 48% of the respondents indicated that they received ADHD training post graduation. This could be attributed to limited school resources. A teacher explains, "A few of the seminars offered are out of town in services and schools simply can not afford to send teams to these sessions. A better option is to educate everyone through local efforts."

"School personnel are not adequately prepared to assist these students. Any knowledge of the subject is gained outside the college environment," says a Dallas teacher.

Many educators just don't have enough information to make intelligent decisions about instruction and management of their ADHD students. This seems to promote a lack of administrative leadership both at the university level and at district levels.

A Texas administrator says, "Probably because of the conflicting information that we as administrators receive on a regular basis — there are even disputes among medical professionals as to the cause, the treatment, and the academic implications of serving children with ADHD. It is a relatively new phenomenon to which we have not yet figured out how to respond accurately at times"

Another Texas administrator cites, "It's very evident through lack of training. I would assume most administrators feel very limited in the most current information and/or data they have regarding ADHD students, and to try and assist teachers who have these students in their classrooms would be an uncomfortable area to address."

A Tennessee educator notes, "There is very little agreement by even experts about the best way to work with or help individuals with ADHD. Without some kind of consensus and agreement, it is difficult for educators to choose appropriate methods and strategies to teach those who are to work with this special population. I think it is time for the profession to get out of the mode of "theory" and have the professionals actually work with the ADHD population, not just try to "contain" or "control" the students while in the classroom. There are positive characteristics of individuals with ADHD and these need to be focused on more than the negative aspects."

Furthermore, misinformation and lack of necessary training seem to have prompted many educators to just ignore the problem disregarding local and federal laws.

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