Teachers in the Republic of Ireland consistently view medication treatment for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a last resort, even when they view the disorder as biologically based.
This is the finding of a study conducted by Niamh Skelly and DrJuliet Foster from the University of Cambridge, funded by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The finding presented today, Tuesday 9 April, at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society (BPS) in Harrogate, suggest that teachers are resistant to medication use for children with ADHD.
The researchers conducted focus groups with primary school teachers across three schools in the Republic of Ireland. The teachers who participated in the study supported a variety of different approaches to the management of ADHD The most consistently expressed view on treatment was resistance to medication and its positioning as a 'last resort'. The study found that teachers commonly believed that children who take medication move from being controlled by their disorder to being controlled by their medication. Teachers perceived medication as potentially dangerous and to be avoided.
Niamh Skelly said: "The theme of resistance to medication for children with ADHD was significant in the focus groups. Some felt that other, implicitly more acceptable, approaches to managing ADHD might prove effective. Other teachers portrayed medication as a potentially dangerous experiment, highlighting the possibility of unknown physical side-effects.
"The findings, which suggest that teachers express complete disapproval of the use of medication for ADHD is surprising given they also viewed the disorder as having a biological basis."
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