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Old 11-08-05, 10:09 AM
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Post Teachers often identify ADHD

Teachers often identify ADHD

By Kim Painter, USA TODAYMon Nov 7,10:10 AM ET

Right about now, parents are attending fall teacher conferences. And many are squirming uncomfortably in little chairs, hearing something like:

Johnny seems to have trouble paying attention.

Daniel often disrupts the class.

Hannah isn't finishing her assignments.

Or more bluntly: I think your child has ADHD.

Most parents know attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is common. The best estimate is that 5% to 8% of children are affected. Most parents also know increasing numbers of children are treated with medications for ADHD - a fact that makes many uneasy. Adding to that uneasiness: recent news that one attention drug, Strattera, is linked with increased suicidal thinking in a few children.

No wonder many parents respond to a teacher's concerns with alarm or denial. "They shoot the messenger, blame the teacher, blame the school. They think there's a conspiracy by the drug companies. They just don't want to hear it," says Edward Hallowell, a Sudbury, Mass., psychiatrist who is co-author of two popular books on ADHD.

Of course, teachers aren't always right. They know a lot about children but are not qualified diagnosticians. But they often are right. And experts say a teacher's concern should always prompt action.

But what exactly should parents do?

First step: Call your pediatrician's office. Say you want to talk to the doctor about problems your child is having in school - or specifically about ADHD, if that is what you suspect.

"In the best of practices, the receptionist hears that call and sends out a packet of questionnaires" for the parents and the teacher, says Martin Stein, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. In 2000, he helped write guidelines on ADHD diagnosis for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Those guidelines gave front-line pediatricians a tool kit for diagnosing ADHD. The guidelines say doctors should carefully piece together a medical, developmental and educational history from information provided by parents, teachers and the child. The doctor should ask about the child's strengths as well as his weaknesses. This history, combined with a good physical exam, should allow him or her to reliably diagnose - or rule out - ADHD in most children, experts say.

Blood tests, brain scans and formal psychological testing usually aren't necessary, Stein says, unless the history makes a doctor suspect something other than garden-variety ADHD. Those other things can range from sleep deprivation to learning disabilities to seizures to a host of psychiatric conditions.

Getting an adequate history and physical exam takes time. Stein says doctors should take about an hour, often spread over two or three appointments. And a doctor should never prescribe medication on the basis of a quick chat during a routine 10-minute visit. But, he says, few doctors do that these days.

Hallowell isn't so sure. "What really ends up happening far too often is that the kid just gets a trial of medication" without a diagnostic work-up, he says.

Pediatricians who take the time can handle ADHD, he says. But many struggle, understandably, with their tight schedules. And many just don't like dealing with behavioral conditions. "Ask your pediatrician if he has a lot of experience with ADHD and whether he likes treating it. If he sort of grimaces and says, 'Well, I guess it's something I have to do,' you can ask him for a referral." The best job, he says, may be done by a child psychologist or psychiatrist - though the specialty matters less than the expertise and enthusiasm.

Pediatricians who follow the guidelines "are definitely qualified to do this," says Steven Pliszka, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. "But you still find doctors who 'don't believe in ADHD' or who just say, 'Oh, sure, sounds like ADHD, here's a prescription.' Luckily both are becoming less common."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/200...E0BHNlYwN0bWE-
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Old 12-19-05, 12:58 PM
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Old 12-19-05, 01:55 PM
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Excellent post.

I'm assuming Hallowell means that all the release forms for confidential information have been signed...lol.

My understanding from what I've read is that teachers reportedly are better at seeing hyperactivity, while parents are better at picking up on oppositional behavior.

Either way, parent & teacher rating scales only match between 30-50% of the time.

Therefore, there's no mandate that they have to.
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Old 12-19-05, 05:35 PM
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I can spot ADHD at twenty paces.
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Old 12-19-05, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mctavish23

My understanding from what I've read is that teachers reportedly are better at seeing hyperactivity, while parents are better at picking up on oppositional behavior.

Either way, parent & teacher rating scales only match between 30-50% of the time.
I think it's interesting, but understandable. My son's teacher identified something, although she didn't know if it was ADD or an LD (DS has no hyperactivity). The rating scales for him certainly don't match.

It's understandable because the environment and the tasks at school are quite different from those at home.
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Old 12-20-05, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scuro
I can spot ADHD at twenty paces.
yes me too
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Old 12-20-05, 11:07 AM
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What only 20 paces??????????????????? What a minute a pace would depend on how big your foot is right...So if my foot is small it would take me maybe 30 paces...
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Old 12-20-05, 01:16 PM
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I have an innate ability to recognize one of my own. They don't need an IEP, I just modify as necessary. Scuro...twenty paces? Is that on a bad day for you? I would have figured it took merely a glance from your practiced eye. :P I never read the files first. I always walk around and get a sense of the kids. After, I'll glance through the files, but there are always kids I sense are add/adhd/related things and not diagnosed. We work on techniques that help for attention regardless of diagnosis, so far. I can't tell their parents, "hey I think your kid is add/adhd," bc I'm not licensed to diagnose. Now if they ASK me...I'll tell them my honest opinion, but at the same time restate that I am not licensed to diagnose in any way. Or, I'll use myself as an example, and they can take from the discussion what they will.
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Old 12-20-05, 04:43 PM
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Better watch out sunshine....the ADHD police may get you! Superintendents, lawyers, the FBI...somebodies going to get you. It doesn't matter if you were asked for your opinion.

I think I could even guess which ones were ADHD, blindfolded at twenty paces! You could even spin me around in a circle three times first. Of course I would have to hear them speak for a bit. The ADHD police are after me for spotting ADHD kids without a licence. I'm a fugitive.
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Old 12-20-05, 05:21 PM
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LOL I don't tell them they are or whatever, I suggest they speak to their doctors and do research, when asked my opinion. I remind them that I am not qualified to diagnose their children of anything. When referring to adhd behavior, I refer to ME.
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Old 12-05-08, 11:33 PM
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Re: Teachers often identify ADHD

My son was just recently diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. We had no help from the teachers, councelor or principle at the middle school. They said we did a poor job parenting, he is just lazy, we must not follow through on punishment..... I knew there was "something" that was not quite right but nobody would help. This fall my son started high schoool, unfortunatly the middle school councelor followed him there.I asked if the school could/would help us-I was told our district would do nothing; if I felt there was a problem then I had to find a doctor.
So I called our family doctor-he wanted to know why the school was not initiating this; since then I've had others ask me the same thing.
I'm meeting with the district administrator - hope I can keep my cool; I keep wondering what my son has missed out on in his education because of this. He does have a high IQ but what did he miss out on? Our school is ONLY watching for the "hyper" kids or those that draw attention to themselves and cause a disruption.
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Old 12-06-08, 01:41 AM
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Re: Teachers often identify ADHD

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Originally Posted by peppy1 View Post
So I called our family doctor-he wanted to know why the school was not initiating this; since then I've had others ask me the same thing.
The laws must be different where you live? Schools in my district (and obviously a few others who have posted in this thread) are not allowed to diagnose medical conditions because they are not qualified. My school district used to test for ADHD, but stopped because they were told to. They are only allowed to test for cognitive and learning disabilities and if your son is failing, his school should be testing him so he can qualify for funding to receive support. In my district, ADHD by itself is not a funded category, although kids with ADHD do receive support.
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Old 12-06-08, 08:07 AM
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Re: Teachers often identify ADHD

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Originally Posted by Imnapl View Post
The laws must be different where you live? Schools in my district (and obviously a few others who have posted in this thread) are not allowed to diagnose medical conditions because they are not qualified. My school district used to test for ADHD, but stopped because they were told to. They are only allowed to test for cognitive and learning disabilities and if your son is failing, his school should be testing him so he can qualify for funding to receive support. In my district, ADHD by itself is not a funded category, although kids with ADHD do receive support.
I can only speak for Texas. In Texas, by law, the teachers are not allowed to say a child is ADHD nor can they recommend medication. They can suggest that the parents have the child evaluated for ADHD. This was put into effect after so many horror stories of schools insisting that a child be medicated.

I have run into this a time or two. In one case, both I and the pediatrician said the child was not ADHD (very active though). The school continued to insist the the mother medicate him. We won.

Now having said this, the schools are, with a few really bad exceptions, normally pretty good at picking up on ADHD.

It helps that Texas now requires school councilors to have a degree in counseling. Many of these are licensed mental health professionals as well. It really helps improve the quality of the services of the school.

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Old 12-06-08, 03:16 PM
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Re: Teachers often identify ADHD

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Originally Posted by Dizfriz View Post
Now having said this, the schools are, with a few really bad exceptions, normally pretty good at picking up on ADHD.

It helps that Texas now requires school councilors to have a degree in counseling. Many of these are licensed mental health professionals as well. It really helps improve the quality of the services of the school.
Here too. The school district contracts professionals to perform services for the district. Because my son's ADHD wasn't really noticed by the school system, guess who I paid to do his assessment after my own ADHD diagnosis? We contacted the very experienced educational psychologist who did contract work for the district. Bless her heart, she didn't charge me very much either.
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