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Promoting Early Assessment and Treatment of ADHD among School Children

17/07/2012
Promoting Early Assessment and Treatment of ADHD among School Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects as many as 5 percent of all elementary school children. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent or minimize the symptoms and contribute to the normal development of these children. Research shows that children with untreated ADHD have more health problems than do other children. Nevertheless, many international studies show that parents of preschool and school-age children with symptoms of ADHD often don’t pursue diagnoses, and that parents from low-income families or single-parent families are even less likely to pursue diagnoses and seek help.


Against this background, MJB’s Center for Research on Disabilities together with Prof. Asher Or-Noy of the Hebrew University Medical School are undertaking a large-scale study to assess the effects of early screening among first- and second-grade students in Jerusalem.

 

The children are screened for ADHD symptoms using a short checklist completed by their teachers and parents.  Following the screening, families in which a child displays ADHD symptoms are advised to continue with and in-depth assessment and treatment.  The study sample consists of over 1000 children whose parents have agreed to the screening.  Thus far, about 200 children have been screened as possibly having ADHD symptoms, and the screening process will be completed through interviews with the children's parents.


After the initial screening, the research team plans to conduct follow-up interviews with parents and teachers to assess the effects of the screening and the parents' responses, and the factors that influence parents to seek diagnoses or treatment for their children, or to refrain from doing so.


The study provides an opportunity to examine variations in identification of children across different groups, such as low-income families versus high-income families.

 

This study is the continuation of a previous Institute study on ADHD, which evaluated best practice strategies for classroom integration, validated the success of screening tools in accurately identifying ADHD, promoted integrated programming for children with ADHD, and facilitated national reforms to support inclusion in schools.


The findings will serve as an important basis for increased attention to these issues among national policy makers and local school officials.


This research project is supported by the Institute's Mandell Berman Fund for Research on Children with Disabilities.

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