FED: One in three teachers link parenting to ADHD: survey
By Judy Skatssoon, National Medical writer
SYDNEY, Aug 25 AAP - One in three teachers believe Attention Deficit HyperactivityDisorder (ADHD) is linked to poor parenting or a bad diet, according to a survey releasedtoday.
The survey of more than 350 Queensland educators by the ADHD Information and SupportService (ADDISS) found one in five teachers were vague about the causes of ADHD.
ADDISS president, psychologist Steve Dossel, said teacher scepticism about ADHD persistedin the face of increasing evidence that it was a neurobiological condition with a stronggenetic component.
Mr Dossel said deficiencies in teachers' understanding of ADHD meant some childrenwith the disorder were treated as if they were lazy, naughty or non-compliant.
Children in this category risked under-achieving at school, "getting into trouble"
after leaving school and developing depression or anxiety disorders in adulthood, Mr Dosselsaid.
On the other hand, teachers who wrongly assumed a child had ADHD when the child wassimply badly behaved were equally likely to use inappropriate management techniques.
"There is a range of opinions among teachers and there are still some teachers whosay it doesn't exist," he said.
"The tragedy of ADHD is that it does look like naughty behaviour and if you use behaviourmanagement strategies that are designed for naughty children then you're not focussingon the real problem and you tend to make things worse."
Mr Dossel said the findings of the survey should come as a wake-up call to teacher educators.
He said it wasn't the role of the teacher to make a diagnosis, but they should be awareof the warning signs so they could refer children suspected of ADHD for an expert assessment.
Children with the disorder could do "extraordinarily well" if appropriately handledwithin the school system, Mr Dossel said.
ADHD drug maker Eli Lilly sponsors ADDISS and provided assistance for the meeting ofeducators on Friday.