Question #4

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.

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