Are hearing impaired children being misdiagnosed and over medicated?
Kelly, D., Forney, J., Parker-fisher, S., & Jones, M. (1993). The challenge of attention deficit disorder in children who are deaf of hard of hearing. American Annals of the Deaf, 138 (4), 343-348.
Schnittjer, C. & Hirshoren, A. (1981). The prevalence of behavior problems in deaf children. Psychology in the Schools, 18(1), 67-72.
(1999). Behavior and
emotions: Understanding ADHD. [Online]. Available:
Synthesis of information
While the information from the website "Understanding ADHD" is
not specifically about hearing impaired children, Schnittjer and Hirshoren
(1981) state in their article that the prevalence of behavior problems
in hearing impaired children do not significantly differ from hearing children.
Therefore, the question of whether or not hearing impaired children
are being misdiagnosed and over medicated can theoretically be answered
by using research not directly related to hearing loss. In the website
"Understanding ADHD" (1999), the question is asked "is AD/HD overdiagnosed?"
The author responds by stating that this question is controversial and
difficult to answer. At this time there is no reliable test to determine
whether or not a child has AD/HD. The diagnosis and treatment often
depend on the type of doctor making the decision. Professionals are
still uncertain about "the status of the disorder and its long-term consequences"
(Web Site: "Understanding ADHD"). However, Kelly, Forney, Parker-Fisher
and Jones (1993) state that "language and communication disorders can be
misdiagnosed as ADD and in children who are deaf or hard of hearing, the
relatively higher prevalence of communication difficulties makes this outcome
more likely" (p. 345).
In conducting my research I found very little information involving
both topics of AD(H)D and hearing loss together, therefore I had to research
the topics separately and fit the information together. The research
that I did find that combined these two topics all seemed to state that
there is no difference between hearing children and hearing impaired children
when it comes to behavior problems. In my opinion it would seem that
hearing impaired children have a much higher incidence of being medicated
for AD(H)D at a young age. One has to wonder if the tests being used
to determine if a child has AD(H)D take communication issues into consideration.
Obviously further research needs to be conducted on this topic and
more studies need to take place.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this topic, feel free to contact me at the following email address: