ADHD News October 2014
At Focused Education we are very careful about leaving ADHD diagnosis to our psychology team. Read the article below then complete our contact form if you feel you child needs our help.
NAPLAN style testing and it’s negative relationship with ADHD diagnosis.
A new study by a professor of psychology has found a negative relationship between standardized testing in schools and ADHD diagnosis.
In the United States of America standardized testing became a federal policy when Congress passed it into law in 2002. It was one of the priority education programs of the then President, George W. Bush.
The intent was to ensure that students were getting the proper education and hold teachers as well as principals accountable for whatever results received.
Similar testing has now become common place in Australia with all schools in Western Australia now completing NAPLAN testing. At Focused Education we notice a dramatic increase in the anxiety of our students and families before, during, and after NAPLAN testing. This is also the case for teachers.
We are often shocked at the inaccuracy of the NAPLAN testing. Our specialist teachers assess our students’ academic ability weekly. We know exactly what their ability is. When we receive their NAPLAN results our children are sent a clear, awful message…..
“I’m not good enough”
ADHD diagnosis explosion.
Focused Education was founded to support children with ADHD. The founder, Martyn Drysdale has ADHD himself. We know it exists and is a real problem for many children. We have recently noticed a concerning trend however. When NAPLAN results are delivered to Perth families we have a spike in teachers suggesting their child may have ADHD.
This concerns us. We feel that teachers do a fantastic job. Martyn Drysdale, the founder of Focused Education is a teacher himself. Nevertheless if a teacher feels a child has ADHD it should be told to the parents earlier. We are finding that during the NAPLAN period children suggested for an ADHD diagnosis are less likely to show signs of the condition.
The American Data on standardized testing and ADHD diagnosis.
There is a notion that the No Child Left Behind policy is also responsible for the current explosion in ADHD cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Attentions Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) cases in children in 2011 in the age range of 4 to 17 was approximately 6.4 million. The rate of increase was pegged by the CDC at about 5 percent per year.
Berkeley professor of psychology and author of the book Hinshaw, Stephen Hinshaw, surmised that the attention to ADHD began with kids going to school. In fact, the widespread failing test scores during the 1990s are generally held as the catalyst for many accountability laws implemented in various states.
Mapping ADHD diagnosis rates
Tracking of ADHD diagnoses by the CDC only began during the early part of the 2000s. To establish the connection on how federal policies impact the diagnosis of ADHD cases, it is necessary to compare the map between ADHD rates and states that have accountability laws.
Before jumping to abrupt conclusions, it is important to keep in mind that just because things happen at the same time does not necessarily mean that they have something to do with the other. It is quite difficult to categorically state why states with accountability laws like North Carolina have twice as more diagnosed cases of ADHD compared to California for example.
In comparing the 30 states that initially had accountability laws to the 20 states that followed suit, the rates of diagnoses skyrocketed. For states that previously did not require testing, the ADHD rate rose from 10 to 15.3 percent for children between the age of 8 to 13 in low-income families. The implementation of the No Child Left Behind policy marked the significant increase.
The Unspoken Danger
There is nothing wrong with children with ADHD being correctly diagnosed; this paves the way to ensure that they receive proper treatment and attention.
The danger with policies that seem to emphasize test scores is that school authorities or even parents may push their kids to seeing a specialist in the assumption that they have ADHD. This means taking kids with low scores out of the equation simply to boost the performance of schools and conform with accountability laws.
This possibility is not far-fetched based on what some observers see, especially when you take into account that the testing scores are tied directly to federal funding. This in itself is incentive enough for schools to want to boost their test scores.
The ADHD Reality
Regardless of how it may look, the reality is that ADHD cases really are increasing in both children and adults. This genuine medical condition is responsible for robbing many people of potential chances for promotion and improvement.
With the growing competition in the real world, the pressure to perform better than everyone else is taking its toll on many adults leading to the increase in cases of ADHD. The proliferation of adult ADHD clinics is a testament to the need for more adult treatment.
The relevant and proper solution to deal with this reality is to have adequate diagnoses. It is essential to have a medical practitioner that is educated in ADHD diagnosis to make sure that condition is properly treated and not immediately dismissed as another form of learning disorder. Unless parents, educators, politicians, and providers agree on this premise, the situation would be worse than the impact of any federal policy.
At Focused Education we collaborate with leading psychologists to diagnosis, support and tutor children with ADHD. We understand the importance of correct diagnosis and care. Call us for a first appointment to talk to our helpful team.
Psychologist services for families
- Comprehensive psychological and cognitive assessments.
- Autism Assessment.
- Autism Diagnosis.
- ADHD testing and ADHD diagnosis.
- ADHD treatment.
- Dyslexia Testing and Tutoring.
- Individual child therapy.
- Behaviour management plans.
- Behaviour escalation profiles.
- Parent Counselling.
- Family Counselling.
- Coaching and support.
- Specialist Holiday Programs for children.
- Group parenting workshops
Our Educational Psychologist Services:
- Dyslexia Testing, Diagnosis and Assessment Services.
- Dyscalculia Assessment.
- Dysgraphia Assessment,
- Gifted and Talented Assessment.
- General Assessment of Learning and academic achievement.
- General Intelligence Assessment.
- Diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay.
CONTACT US BECAUSE WE CAN HELP YOUR CHILD