ADHD medication is seen as the last resort

Medication treatment for pupils with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is viewed by teachers as a last resort. This is according to new research presented today (9 April) at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Harrogate, which found this remains the case even when teachers view the disorder as being biologically based.

Carried out by Niamh Skelly and Dr Juliet Foster from the University of Cambridge and funded by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, the investigation consisted of focus groups held with primary school teachers at three schools in the Republic of Ireland.

It was shown that many teachers do not encourage the use of ADHD medication as they believe young people will no longer be controlled by their disorder, but by the tablets they take.

Ms Skelly noted some participants think other approaches - particularly those commonly thought of as being more acceptable - might be more effective than medication.

She added: "Other teachers portrayed medication as a potentially dangerous experiment, highlighting the possibility of unknown physical side-effects."