Teachers in secondary schools around the country will be shortly sent a questionnaire on their experiences of teaching children with ADHD, as preliminary findings show teacher training colleges did not prepare many of them for the task.
Andrea Ní Loinsigh of NUI Galway is undertaking a study of the impact of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in the lives of adolescent girls between the ages of 14 and 18.
So far, 60 teachers who taught children with an ADHD diagnosis have participated in the study, while adolescents have also been interviewed.
From that small sample, preliminary findings show:
-81% of teachers did not feel their initial teacher education prepared them to work with students with ADHD;
-86% of respondents said they have taught more boys than girls with ADHD;
-43% said they feel ADHD more significantly affects boys academically;
-86% of teachers said they do feel they have particular responsibilities towards students with ADHD.
According to Ms Ní Loinsigh: “Teachers were very divided over whether or not their school provides them with the required supports to properly teach students with ADHD, with 36.1% saying ‘yes it does’, 30.6% saying ‘no it does not’, and 33.3% responding with ‘to some extent’ it does.”
As for preliminary data from adolescent interviews, some respondents said they felt ADHD was going unrecognised, especially in primary school. Many of the young women stated they did not know how to make friends, while some said they had not been diagnosed until they were 16 or older.
Ms Ní Loinsigh said: “One participant even said that when she went to speak to her GP about the possibility of having ADHD, the doctor told her that girls ‘can’t have’ ADHD.
“Many are extremely talented in the creative arts, from music to acting to artistic endeavours,” she added.
In the autumn, the survey will be sent to all second-level schools, with Ms Ní Loinsigh seeking responses from teachers and girls aged 14 and over who have had a diagnosis of ADHD.
Information on the study can be found at: facebook.com/studyofadhdinirishfemales?ref=hl[/url]
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