The Experience of Mothers and Teachers of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder Children, and Their Management Practices for the Behaviors of the Child: A Descriptive Phenomenological Study

Lubna Harazni, Aidah Alkaissi


Introduction: ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a childhood disorder affecting children worldwide and has a major burden on the child, family and other caregivers. Aim: The aim of this study is to investigate and describe the experience of the adults that interact on a daily basis with school-aged children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which are mothers and teachers. This study aims also to understand management practices that are used by mothers and teachers to deal with the most prominent signs of ADHD, which are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in order to formulate a care plan. Design: The study used a qualitative descriptive phenomenological method to explore the experiences of primary caregivers of ADHD children to capture as much as possible the way in which the phenomenon is experienced. Data collection: Face to face, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants – the mothers and teachers of ADHD children. The interview guide allowed mothers and teachers to express their experiences with the ADHD child. Sample: Purposive sampling was used; four children diagnosed with ADHD were chosen. The sample was 4 mothers and 12 teachers (3 teachers for each child). Setting: Interviews were conducted in schools and homes of children with ADHD. Data Analysis: The data was analyzed by using Giorgi’s phenomenological psychology method (1985). Results: Three major themes emerged from the mothers’ interviews and ten sub-themes; (1) the burden of caring (academic track burden, activities of daily living burden, psychological and emotional burden); (2) inadequate support (lack of support from spouses and relatives, lack of support from schools, lack of support from community); (3)disturbances of the child's behavior (hyper activity, inattention, impulsivity, hostility). Five major themes also emerged from the teachers interviews and thirteen sub-themes; (1) lack of information (the nature of the disease, student health and follow-up, the ideal method for dealing with child); (2) child´s behaviors disruptive (inability to follow class rules, inattention and impulsivity, using verbal and physical abuse); (3) the lack of resources (lack of time, lack of materials and experts); (4) lack of support (lack of Ministry of Education support and school team, lack of parental support); (5) the burden of having the child in the class (burden of managing the safety of the child, burden to calm the child and the other students, emotional burden). Conclusion: The findings of the study demonstrate the importance of understanding the experience of the mothers and teachers of ADHD children. It reflected the difficulties and issues of dealing and caring with ADHD children. There were clear defects in the knowledge, understanding, services provided for the children, and available support for the care givers. Improving services in terms of family and school care should be a major concern. The recommendations made on the basis of the results of this study can be used as a guide to improve the delivery of care services for people who have children with ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD, experience, descriptive phenomenology.

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