Inattentive ADHD - Teachers and Parents Disagree on Who
Has It  
by Tess Messer
inattention. Twelve to fourteen months later, their current teachers again evaluated
the students for inattention. The two teachers disagreed about the severity of the
inattentive ADHD symptoms about 25%-50% of the time.

One of the authors of the study, which is entitled Teacher Ratings of Children's
Inattentive Symptoms: Implications for the Assessment of ADHD, reported that,
"ADHD is generally regarded as a chronic condition and it certainly persists over the
long term for many children. However, our findings highlight that many children with
significant attention difficulties during one grade do not show these problems at
school the following year, even children who have been carefully diagnosed with

The authors of the study reported that children diagnosed in school with ADHD might
improve in a more organized classroom or in class with fewer disruptive classmates.
They concluded that children should be evaluated yearly lest their ADHD symptoms
have unknowingly improved and they be given medication or other remediation that
is no longer necessary.

I should be ecstatic about this findings but I am not. The reason is this. We know
from age-old studies that it is unlikely that any two teachers will agree on the
severity of a child's ADHD symptoms. Parent and teacher agreement is even worse.
In 30% to 50% of cases parent and teacher will not agree upon the ADHD
symptoms of a child. A study done in 1987 reported that, "The degree of agreement
between parents and teacher for any dimension of child behavior is modest, often
ranging between.30 and.50 (Achenbach, McConaughy, & Howell, 1987).

The authors of the study found clinically elevated ratings persisted for less than 50%
of children and between 25% and 50% had ratings that declined to within the
normative range when evaluated one year later by their new teachers.

My contention is that the Duke researchers would have seen these improved findings
after 5 days or any minimal amount of time because the teacher disagreement is a
constant and has nothing to do with a child's improvement and more to do with they
teacher's idea of what is clinically significant ADHD inattention.

The philosophical implications of these finding are interesting in their own right.
Currently if teacher and parent agree that the child has ADHD symptoms that are so
severe that they are impairing learning, the child is started on medication or on some
other ADHD treatment.

If, as documented, two teachers disagree so consistently, we may want to consider
a less arbitrary method of diagnosis than what we are currently using. It may make
much more sense to rely more on less subjective ADHD tests such as Quotient™
ADHD System. This system uses a software testing program that measures
hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention and has been shown to be less
subjective than teacher and parent ratings of ADHD symptoms.

About The Author

Tess Messer

For more information on Primarily Inattentive ADHD please visit Tess Messer at
. There you will find
information on ADHD symptoms, ADHD treatment, alternatives to medications,
Information on ADHD vitamins and supplements and much more. Looking forward to
meeting you there!!
There has been almost as much
excitement in the ADHD community
regarding a new study by Duke
University researchers that has found
that elementary school age students
with ADHD may not have symptoms
of ADHD when evaluated a year later
as their has been in the general
community to the Duke University
basketball championship.

In the Duke University study, the
researchers asked the teachers of
some ADHD students in first grade
and some ADHD students in 4th
grade to rate these students level of
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