Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Primary) (Honours) BEd (Primary) (Hons)





First Advisor

Dr Merle Cozens

Second Advisor

Malcolm Coulson


130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori), 111704 Community Child Health


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavioral disorder said to affect approximately 3-5% of the primary school-aged population. There has been much controversy about ADHD diagnosis and treatment in recent years. Research has identified teachers as one of the major parties which contribute to the diagnostic process, and there has been literature to suggest that teachers may play a part in the over- and under-diagnosis of ADHD. In light of this, and other research, teachers’ sources of information about ADHD are questionable. A search of the Adventist Education website revealed that no policies existed in the Adventist schools in Australia for ADHD management.

Therefore the purpose of the research is to find out what teachers in the Seventh-day Adventist school system perceive their role and responsibilities to be. This research also compares teacher perceptions with what research outlines as the roles and responsibilities of the classroom teacher in the diagnostic and treatment processes of ADHD.

The research used a quantitative research design by way of a survey to examine teacher knowledge, opinions and perceived roles. The survey contained four sections including a demographic section and sections for each of the topics listed above, and used a five-point likert-type scale to attain responses from teachers.

Various forms were used in data analysis including t-tests, correlation analyses and descriptive statistics. Major findings revealed: that there were some differences in factual knowledge of ADHD between those who had experience with ADHD and those who had not, and those who were special needs teachers as opposed to classroom teachers; teachers were likely to be unsure about causes and prevalence of ADHD and treatment with stimulant medication; teachers performed poorly in relation to questions about diagnostic criteria and correct diagnosis regarding observation of the improvement of ADHD symptoms when on stimulant medication; teachers were generally aware of co-morbid disorders.

Other findings of the study pertaining to the opinions of teachers found that: teachers agree that stimulant medication improves symptoms associated with ADHD; teachers believe that ADHD is over-diagnosed, there are too many students on stimulant medication and stimulant medication should not be the only form of treatment for ADHD; teachers are of the opinion that they need more information about ADHD; and teachers are not overly confident in their abilities to identify ADHD in children.

Major issues presented in relation to teachers’ perception of their roles and responsibilities established that: A good portion of teachers were unsure if they would refer a child displaying symptoms of ADHD; teachers were likely to say they would be actively involved but did not follow through on questions which indicated that they would be involved; teachers are generally willing to be involved in most aspects of the diagnosis and treatment process however, they are apprehensive about administering medication; teachers, in general, did not attend valuable in-service or pre-service courses and were more inclined to receive their information from ‘second-hand’ sources (such as parents or other professionals); and a large percentage of teachers were unsure where they received their information from.

A need for teachers to become critical consumers of information was identified and teacher responses indicated that the training available was not sufficient in preparing them for their significant role in diagnosing and treating ADHD.

Therefore it is recommended: That in-service education about ADHD for teachers be targeted in Seventh-day Adventist schools; policies be developed in Seventh-day Adventist schools to address the role of the teacher in diagnosing and treating ADHD; pre-service training address some issues in ADHD; and teacher collaboration and support groups be formed especially between special needs teachers, those who have experience with ADHD and other teachers.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Used by permission: the author

Copyright © 2004 Charissa Singer

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