University Study Finds Huge Racial Disparty in Diagnoses for ADHD

298px-Pennsylvania_State_University_seal.svgA study led by Paul Morgan, an associate professor of special education at Pennsylvania State University, finds a huge racial gap in diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The research found that Black children were 69 percent less likely than White children to be diagnosed with the disorder. The study found that the racial disparity exists for children from kindergarten through eighth grade.

The study noted that Black children are less likely to be diagnosed with the disorder, and thus do not receive the appropriate treatments, despite the fact that other research shows that Black children are just as likely, if not more so, to display ADHD symptoms.

“This is a situation where there are a number of different treatments that are empirically validated for this disorder. Minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and receive medication,” Professor Morgan said. “There are a large number of kids out there not receiving treatment to help with ADHD and that can erode their school-based success.”

“The study provides support for increased awareness and questioning by health care providers, school psychologists and teachers to ensure minority children receive appropriate diagnosis and care for ADHD, such as medication, therapy, parent training and/or specialized learning programs,” Professor Morgan added.

The article, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in ADHD Diagnosis From Kindergarten to Eighth Grade,” was published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics. It may be accessed here.

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