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Teachers Knowledge, Beliefs, and Values about Children with ADHD


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Title: Teachers Knowledge, Beliefs, and Values about Children with ADHD

Teachers Knowledge, Beliefs, and Values about
Children with ADHD
  • Judy A. Liesveld
  • August 16, 2007

Background for the Study
  • ADHD is a complex disorder with neurological and
    genetic factors comprising a sound but still
    unproven explanation for the cause (Anastopoulos
    Shelton, 2001 Biederman Faraone, 2005).
  • ADHD has profound effects at the individual,
    family, school, and societal levels (Chan et al.,
    2002 Kendall, 1998 Kendall et al., 2003
    Leibson et al., 2001).

Why Teachers are Important
  • Most elementary school classrooms have at least
    one child with ADHD (Barkley, 1998).
  • ADHD viewed as a medicalized phenomenon (Conrad,
  • Medical gaze (Foucault, 1976) partially
    transferred to teachers

Why Teachers are Important (Continued)
  • A high percentage of children referred for ADHD
    evaluations are first identified by teachers
    (Pilling, 2000).
  • Teachers are asked to complete rating scales or
    questionnaires regarding symptoms.
  • Teachers are asked to carry out recommended
    treatment regimens or to monitor effectiveness of
    treatment (Tannock Martinussen, 2001).

The Albuquerque JournalMarch 22, 2007, Page A1
Purpose of the Study
  • The purpose of the study was to sequentially
    determine elementary teachers knowledge
    regarding ADHD and to then explore teachers
    beliefs and values vis-à-vis knowledge
    regarding children with ADHD and treatment

Quantitative Research Questions
  • What do teachers know about ADHD?
  • How do teachers rate their knowledge about ADHD?
  • How does age, gender, ethnicity, number of
    teaching years, past ADHD training, and number of
    children taught with ADHD affect teachers
    knowledge about ADHD?

Qualitative Research Questions
  • What are elementary school teachers beliefs and
    values regarding children with ADHD?
  • How do school environments influence teachers
    knowledge, beliefs, and values regarding children
    with ADHD?
  • What are their beliefs and values regarding
    treatment practices for children with ADHD?
  • How do teachers think that their cultural
    beliefs and values influence their actions taken
    in working with children with ADHD?

Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Data
  • Does knowledge about ADHD influence teachers
    beliefs and values about ADHD and if so, how?

Data Collection Strategies
  • The Knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorders
    Scale (KADDS)criterion based tool (reliability
    .82 to .90).
  • Demographic Questionnaire
  • Visual Analog Tool
  • Group Interviews and Individual Interviews
  • Field Notes

Setting for the Study
  • Gallup McKinley County School District
  • (2nd largest geographical school district in US
    in the 3rd poorest county in the US)
  • Nine elementary schools participated.

Demographics of the Sample
  • 133 teachers completed the KADDS, demographic
    questions and VAS 4 group interviews with 28
    teachers 5 high KADDS and 3 low KADDS individual
  • 80 Female. Ages ranged from 22 to 72 (M 44.00,
    SD 12.43).
  • 80 White, 8 American Indian, 7 Hispanic, 2
    Asian, 1 African American, 2 Unreported.
  • Years taught 1 to 39 (M 12.50, SD 9.47)
  • Standard Licensure (82), Alternative (13), and
    (5) unreported.

Experience with ADHD
Percentages for Categorical Variables Measuring
Experiences with ADHD (N 133)
Experience with ADHD (cont.)
Means, Standard Deviations, and Ranges for
Variables Measuring Experiences with ADHD
KADDS Results
  • KR-20 Results and Descriptive Statistics for the
    Knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorders Scale

General Descriptions and Thoughts about ADHD
  • Hyper as catch-all descriptor
  • Negative descriptors
  • Gender issues and ADHD
  • Challenging for the child
  • Negative and positive beliefs about ADHD

Difficulty Recognizing ADHD Symptoms
  • ADHD or ADD?
  • Normal development
  • Co morbidities/Look Alikes
  • Home versus School Symptoms

Beliefs about Causes of ADHD
  • ADHD as a biological condition
  • Parenting style and lack of discipline
  • Nutrition affecting Behavior
  • Technology/Fast Society

Beliefs about the Diagnosis
  • Label of ADHD
  • Easy label
  • Over diagnosis
  • Questioning the diagnosis
  • Diagnosis as a relief
  • ADHD as a new phenomenon
  • ADHD behaviors as a continuum

Teachers Values about ADHD
  • Valuing children
  • Valuing individuality
  • Valuing knowledge, education, and research about

Steps to Help a Child with ADHD
  • Teachers as gatekeepers (Intentional or
  • Broaching the subject about ADHD with parents

The School Environment and ADHD
A Recipe for Disaster
  • Process
  • Start with one healthy child.
  • Add a heightened sense of test anxiety.
  • Trim new schools of excess fat (a.k.a. recess).
  • Whip into a test frenzy.
  • Add one scoop of Ritalin.
  • Mash a dash of hyper-parenting.
  • Pour in a heaping spoonful of NCLB.
  • Bring competitive National Test Scoring to a
  • Reduce exercise and joyful emotionally nourishing
  • Let simmer until good intensions go away.
  • Let sit perfectly still for 6-5 hours a day.

(No Transcript)
Treatment Strategies and ADHD
Themes and Sub-themes of Teachers Beliefs About
ADHD and Treatment Practices
Teachers Cultural Beliefs about ADHD
  • Hyperactivity is normal
  • Then and Now
  • Environment and Culture
  • Teachers Characteristics

The Influence of Knowledge on Beliefs and Values
about ADHD
  • Teachers with higher knowledge seemed to have
    more positive general beliefs about children with
    ADHD, had more confidence in the diagnosis, and
    supported a multimodal approach. They also had
    more willingness to support the use of stimulant
    medication in children with ADHD and had
    flexibility in using various teaching strategies.

Experience Ties Knowledge, Beliefs, and Values
  • Teachers with higher ADHD knowledge were
    influenced by experiences with ADHD through
    teaching children with ADHD, through
    workshops/journals/books, through friends or
  • Interest and experience fueled the value of
    acquiring more education and knowledge.
  • Experience and knowledge had an additive quality
    Experience promoted knowledge and beliefs, and
    in turn, more knowledge stimulated the quest for
    more experience in teaching children with ADHD.

Creating Niche Valance
The Importance of Partnerships
Strengths and Limitations of the Research
  • Emic/Etic views
  • Mixed Methods pros and cons
  • Theory-driven approach pros and cons
  • Reliability issues with KADDS subscales
  • Sampling issues
  • Timing of the research
  • Lack of thick description about cultural beliefs

Implications for Future Research
  • Create opportunity for teachers experience with
    children with ADHD.
  • Participatory Action Research Collaboration,
    shared ownership, community action
  • Use of KADDS and demographic tool with larger
    diversified samples, in other geographic
  • Structural equation modeling to measure
    relationships between theoretical constructs with
    models of emergent themes and subthemes
  • More stories to hear and observations to be made

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