Hispanic teachers' perceptions of children with ADHD

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2009-05-15

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A vast number of children, approximating nearly 4 million, have received a diagnosis of ADHD. It is important that teachers are well educated with regard to the symptomatology of this particular disability. This is particularly important since teachers are expected to implement, evaluate, and support treatments for children with ADHD. Research has shown that the education system has not responded well to the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Overall, ethnic minorities with ADHD have been understudied. Given the lack of information in the literature regarding the influence of ethnicity on Hispanic teacher perceptions as they pertain to inaccurate referrals for special education in children suspected of having ADHD, the purpose of this study was to examine Hispanic teacher perceptions of off-task behaviors and to investigate what factors influence teachers? decisions to refer these children to special education. This study addresses three research questions that examine variables such as a teacher?s perceived comfort level of their own knowledge of ADHD, a teacher?s actual knowledge of ADHD, and the ethnicity of the student being considered for a special education referral. A series of repeated measures were conducted to answer these research questions. The first question involved determining the effects of an inservice training specifically dealing with ADHD on the comfort level of teachers? knowledge of ADHD. There was a significant within-subjects effect for the variable time (F = 11.054; p < .01). The second research question involved determining the effects of an inservice training specifically dealing with ADHD on the actual teacher knowledge of ADHD. There was a significant within-subjects effect for both the variable time (F = 21.465; p < .01) and the interaction of the variable time and experimental condition (F = 14.137; p < .01). There also was a significant between subjects main effect found for the experimental condition (F = 10.015; p < .01). The third and last research question involved determining the effects of an inservice training specifically dealing with ADHD on teacher referral patterns of Hispanic and Caucasian students to special education. There were no significant within-subjects or between-subjects main and interaction effects.

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