of teachers who correctly agreed or disagreed with statements on the 5-point
Likert-type scale is shown in Table 1. Responses were determined to be
correct on the basis of the NIH Consensus Statement (1998). Only 5 out
of 13 items were answered correctly by more than half of the responding
teachers. To determine whether the mean differences were significant between
general and special educators, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) comparing
means was completed. There were no statistically significant differences
between general and special educators.
The teachers who responded to this survey had less knowledge about ADHD and the use of stimulant medication than one would expect considering their pivotal role in the recognition and treatment of ADHD.
knew that the long-term effects of stimulant medication were not well understood,
they were surprisingly uninformed about the risks of stimulant medication.
Most were unaware of the possible side effects of stimulant medication,
especially the possibility of decreased growth rate and increased risk
of tics. Fewer than half knew that stimulant drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin,
and Dexedrine have abuse potential similar to Demerol, cocaine, and morphine.
If teachers knew more about the side effects, perhaps they could more carefully
weigh the pros and cons of pharmacological solutions for behavior problems.
Another misconception was the belief that the diagnosis of ADHD can be confirmed if the child's behavior improves as a result of taking stimulant medication. In fact, stimulant medication improves behavior, attention, and concentration for children without ADHD in the same way that it does for children diagnosed with ADHD (Peloguin & Klorman, 1986). If a child's behavior improves as a result of the diagnosis of ADHD and subsequent stimulant drug therapy, teachers may incorrectly assume that a disorder with a neurological basis has been confirmed. This sense of validation may bolster their confidence and contribute to an escalating cycle of referrals.
(105 ILCS 5/10-20.35 new)Sec. 10-20.35. Psychotropic or psychostimulant
medication; disciplinary action.
(a) In this Section:
"Psychostimulant medication" means medication that
produces increased levels of mental and physical energy and
alertness and an elevated mood by stimulating the central
"Psychotropic medication" means psychotropic medication
as defined in Section 1-121.1 of the Mental Health and
Developmental Disabilities Code.
(b) Each school board must adopt and implement a policy
that prohibits any disciplinary action that is based totally
or in part on the refusal of a student's parent or guardian
to administer or consent to the administration of
psychotropic or psychostimulant medication to the student.
The policy must require that, at least once every 2
years, the in-service training of certified school personnel
and administrators include training on current best practices
regarding the identification and treatment of attention
deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder, the application of non-aversive behavioral
interventions in the school environment, and the use of
psychotropic or psychostimulant medication for school-age
(c) This Section does not prohibit school medical staff,
an individualized educational program team, or a professional
worker (as defined in Section 14-1.10 of this Code) from
recommending that a student be evaluated by an appropriate
medical practitioner or prohibit school personnel from
consulting with the practitioner with the consent of the
student's parents or guardian.
The Kucinich letter, April 29, 1999, implies that schools violate IDEA and section 504 when they withhold education from a student by insisting on meds: "As we discussed in March, the Department of Education oversees two federal programs that provide for the education of children who may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Part H of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides funds to States to help meet the excess costs of educating students with disabilities and requires state education agencies and local education agencies to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all eligible children with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires a local education agency to provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified child with a disability, which consists of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet the individual student's needs. Any failure on the part of a local school district to deliver required special education, regular education, and/or related aids and services to an eligible child with a disability may be a violation of the guarantees of FAPE under IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes that stimulant medication, prescribed under the supervision of a physician, maybe one method of effective treatment of the characteristics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This is fully consistent with the recommendations of a November 1998 National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement on diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. It is important to reinforce that the decision to prescribe any medication is the responsibility of medical, not educational professionals, after consultation with the family and agreement on the most appropriate treatment plan. The use of stimulant medication and other proven diagnostic and treatment practices were the topic of technical assistance products developed several years ago by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs. These materials, designed for school personnel, have been widely distributed and are currently available from the ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, 1-800- 328-0272.Full letter.
"Pharmacological treatment remains one of the most common, yet most controversial, forms of ADHD treatment. It is important to note that the decision to prescribe any medicine is the responsibility of medicalónot educationalóprofessionals, after consultation with the family and agreement on the most appropriate treatment plan."
Recent increases in the use of psychotropic medications by children and adolescents,
limited information on the benefits of these therapies for children, and concerns
about the adverse consequences of certain drugs have prompted the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration to revise their guidance for prescribers and patients. Because
some of these drugs will be brought to school for administration during the school day,
the Center has developed this fact sheet to summarize key information on the topic.