​Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) occurs in 2 to 15 percent of young children, with 11 percent of children in the U.S. receiving an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Disparities in ADHD Interventions

Study is the largest of children and teens with ADHD ever conducted in the United States

Story by

Amy White

​Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) occurs in 2 to 15 percent of young children, with 11 percent of children in the U.S. receiving an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their lives.​ The chronic condition, which often lasts through adolescence and adulthood, is marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Students with ADHD are at higher risk for grade retention, underachievement, identification for special education services and school dropout, and are at a higher risk of learning disabilities. 

Studies have shown that school-based interventions improve classroom behavior and academic performance. A recent study by George DuPaul, however, reveals gaps between student needs and school services, particularly in secondary school and for non-English speakers and lower-income families. The study, which appears in the Journal of Attention Disorders, is the largest of children and teens with ADHD ever conducted in the U.S. 

DuPaul's findings are based on data on 2,495 youth with ADHD aged 4 to 17 years from across the United States collected through the National Survey of the Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD and Tourette Syndrome (NS-DATA).

DuPaul, professor of school psychology and associate dean for research in the College of Education, is the lead author of the study. He and co-authors Andrea Chronis-Tuscano of the University of Maryland (College Park) and Melissa Danielson and Susanna Visser of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about one in three students with ADHD received no school-based interventions and two of three received no classroom management, representing a major gap in addressing chronic impairment related to ADHD symptoms. One-fifth of students with ADHD who experience significant academic and social impairment—those most in need of services—received no school intervention. 

“We expected that most students with ADHD would be receiving some form of support, but were surprised that so few were receiving services to manage their behavior (the latter being the primary difficulty that students with this disorder experience),” DuPaul said. “We expected that there would be disparities in service receipt based on age (i.e., teens received less support) and race/ethnicity; however, we were surprised with the extent to which these gaps were evident and the magnitude of the disparities.”

The findings have direct implications for educational policy and practices and should be of interest to parents and individuals with ADHD, teachers and other educational professionals, mental health professionals and policy makers, DuPaul and his colleagues said.

Story by

Amy White

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