Broadening its response to both the human and financial costs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) today announced a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), the national resource on ADHD. The partnership will train more Louisiana teachers to recognize classroom behaviors caused by ADHD and to use appropriate and effective techniques to address them.
"By working with CHADD and LDOE, we will help more Louisiana teachers identify and accommodate the learning needs of children with ADHD in their classrooms. The better prepared our teachers are, the more students will have the opportunities to succeed," said LDH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert. "This partnership will also help reduce the number of children without a genuine ADHD diagnosis from being misidentified based on classroom behavior. It's a win for everyone."
Louisiana has one of the highest rates of ADHD prescription drug use in the country. While ADHD is a neurological condition affecting children in all communities, the rate of ADHD prescriptions is especially high in boys, with 17 percent of all Louisiana boys enrolled in Medicaid taking ADHD medication. LDH formed the ADHD Task Force in August 2014 to research and promote best practices regarding the proper diagnosis, medication and treatment of ADHD. This new partnership is an expansion of the Task Force's efforts to help ensure that teachers throughout Louisiana have the best possible information and training when instructing children they suspect or know to have ADHD.
"We want to give our students every advantage to succeed in the classroom," said State Superintendent of Education John White. "We're excited about this partnership and this pilot program because it provides our educators with the tools necessary to support these students and give them every advantage possible."
Members of the ADHD Task Force, including the State's Department of Health in conjunction with the Department of Education met on Tuesday, September 29, with representatives of CHADD. This coalition of local and national resources discussed an approach to assist Louisiana's teachers in recognizing when classroom behaviors are caused by ADHD and appropriate techniques to effectively address them. An implementation plan is currently being crafted that will be centered on CHADD's 'Teacher to Teacher' Program.
"CHADD is absolutely delighted to work with the State of Louisiana in order to improve the lives of children affected by ADHD. This is a first of its kind initiative whereby students, parents, teachers and health care providers will all potentially be affected due to the unique ability of the Departments of Health and Education to collaborate in assessment and problem-solving. CHADD will ensure that the State has access to the best evidence-based practices available," said Mike MacKay, CHADD's President.
Teacher to Teacher: Best Practice Intervention Strategies to Ensure School Success is a day-long workshop that helps educators identify common ADHD-related learning problems and proven classroom techniques, interventions, and the latest research to enhance school success for students with ADHD. This interactive training allows classroom teachers to discuss solutions to common academic and behavioral problems in a case-based format.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook.