Foundation and intermediate phase educators' knowledge and beliefs about the features, symptoms and diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Attention – Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is described as one of the most researched and most common of all childhood-onset disorders, receiving substantial amounts of attention from researchers, the media and members of the general public in the last two decades. Research in the last decade has found prevalence rates for South African children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD ranging between 5 and 10%, therefore making ADHD one of the persistent and commonly occurring conditions affecting South African children and adolescents today. Despite this, ADHD is a commonly misunderstood condition, with misinterpretations about ADHD been documented amongst parents and doctors, as well as amongst educators. International studies that have measured educators‟ level of knowledge regarding ADHD, have found that while educators have a basic understanding of ADHD, more complex knowledge of the symptoms, treatment and features of ADHD is limited. This study therefore aimed to assess the level of knowledge regarding ADHD amongst Foundation/Intermediate phase educators in Durban, South Africa. Knowledge levels were measured using the KADDS (Knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorders Scale), which measures educators‟ knowledge and misperceptions in three specific areas: Symptoms/diagnosis of ADHD, general knowledge about the nature, causes and outcome of ADHD and possible interventions (treatment) with regard to ADHD. A demographic questionnaire was administered along with the KADDS to 104 educators at selected schools. The results from this study demonstrated that Durban-based, South African educators had an overall correct knowledge rate of 54.65%.The scores obtained on this study, fall within the average range of scores obtained from international and national studies based on the KADDS. Furthermore, when compared to other South African studies, this current study demonstrated better results on the KADDS scale. This could suggest that Durban based educators possess greater knowledge of ADHD than educators in other cities of South Africa, namely Cape Town and Johannesburg. Correlation tests were done to identify possible relationships between educators‟ knowledge of ADHD and their demographic characteristics. These revealed that overall knowledge of ADHD is significantly related to educators‟ sense of self-efficacy regarding their ability to teach in an inclusive setting with ADHD learners. Self-efficacy was also identified as a predictive factor for increased knowledge levels. Knowledge of ADHD was also correlated with educators‟ exposure to ADHD as a childhood disorder (e.g. teaching a learner with ADHD, being involved in the referral process of a possible ADHD diagnosis). The findings contribute to international and local knowledge around educators‟ knowledge of ADHD at a time when inclusion is promoted in education. Recommendations arising from this study include: Interventions with in-service educators to address gaps in their knowledge levels, further exploration around training educators‟ exposure to knowledge of ADHD, as well as self-efficacy enhancement of educators.