Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. Ronald Styron

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rose McNeese

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. David E. Lee

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a psychiatric condition that has been increasingly diagnosed in young American children, with boys being diagnosed three times more frequently than their female peers. As a result, more children than ever are being treated with powerful stimulant medications which can have various desired and undesired effects. Early childhood curriculums have become more academic in nature, and early childhood teachers are under growing pressure to help their students master academic skills at earlier ages than ever before. Pharmaceutical companies aggressively market medications directly to consumers, promising improved academic and behavioral success for even the youngest children. Little boys, by their very nature, are less likely than their female peers to exhibit academic, fine motor, and behavioral school readiness skills. These issues intersect in American early childhood classrooms every day and create environments where medicating little boys for academic success might seem like the right thing to do.

This study examined the relationship between the time early childhood teachers have spent in professional development regarding ADHD, boys’ learning styles, medications used to treat ADHD, the CHAMPs system of classroom management, and Positive Behavior Support, and their attitudes toward the above concepts, as well as their initial reactions to young boys who display symptoms of ADHD. One hundred and eighty-four early childhood teachers from a large Southeastern Louisiana public school district responded to the questionnaire.

The findings showed that time spent in professional development regarding ADHD did have a moderate positive correlation related to early childhood teachers’ attitudes toward ADHD. The study also found that the more time teachers’ spent in professional development addressing Positive Behavior Support was significantly and positively related to their efforts to collaborate with colleagues in order to develop medication-free behavioral and academic interventions for young boys who display symptoms of ADHD.