Parent and carer experiences of ADHD in Australian schools: Critical gaps.
Parents for ADHD Advocacy Australia (PAAA) has a firm objective to increase the capacity of schools to support students with ADHD.
In August 2018, PAAA undertook an extensive national quantitative study focusing on the performance of Australian schools in meeting the needs of ADHD students. This study collected brand new, previously unavailable data from over one thousand Australian families who have one or more children suffering from ADHD.
The findings have now been published in a report entitled, “Parent and carer experiences of ADHD in Australian schools: Critical gaps”. The report highlights critical gaps in the capacity of schools to include and support students with ADHD, with 1 in 3 students with ADHD changing schools as a result of ADHD-related issues.
The survey found critical gaps in:
Educator knowledge about ADHD and how it impacts learning
“95% of parent believed teachers and school staff need specific ADHD training”
Provision of ADHD resources and adjustments to students with ADHD
“More than a third of parents (36%) reported no adjustment in teaching, classroom tasks and assessment processes”
Schools’ commitment to the wellbeing of students with ADHD
“68% of parents believed their child had difficulty with friendships and feeling included by other children at school”
Overuse of punitive and exclusionary methods of behaviour management including suspensions and detentions
“24% of children have been suspended, an average of 3.7 suspensions per child”
Lack of funding to support students with ADHD
“1 in 5 respondents (21%) reported being pressed by staff for a change in diagnosis to secure funding”
What these results mean
This report confirms that children with ADHD are at risk in the education system and are experiencing inequitable access to education, reflecting the lack of recognition of ADHD within the Australian education system as a serious impairment to learning. This is at odds with obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education (DSE), whose purpose is to ensure students with disability such as ADHD, can access education on the same basis as their peers.
What needs to happen now
Parents for ADHD Advocacy Australia (PAAA) is now urgently calling for a multi-agency effort in the recognition of the challenges of students with ADHD in schools, ensuring stakeholders such as Government, departments of education, principals, teachers, medical professionals and parents work together to address the gaps.
We encourage you to read this important report in advance of participating in forthcoming advocacy initiatives on a local, State and National basis.