London, July 6 : Teachers are labelling children as hyperactive when they are simply naughty, psychiatrists have suggested.
A study showed that only 50 percent kids whom teachers suspected of having ADHD were diagnosed with the condition by a mental health expert.
The research has raised concerns that children are being wrongly diagnosed because they are disruptive in lessons or refuse to co-operate with teachers.
Kids suffering from ADHD cannot concentrate on schoolwork or play and are easily distracted, forgetful or fail to follow instructions.
They are also unduly noisy, restless, fidget constantly, often talk excessively, butt into others' conversations and cannot wait in line.
According to estimates, around 1.7 per cent of the population is affected by ADHD, mostly children and if it cannot be controlled with behavioural therapy then medication such as Ritalin is considered. In the study, based in Tower Hamlets, 52 children were referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services team with ADHD-like symptoms over the course of one year.
Of those, it was clear most did not have ADHD and 14 were observed in the classroom by the mental health team. Eventually six were diagnosed with ADHD.
The researchers said that they are unsure why teachers may be over-identifying children with possible ADHD diagnoses.
"Naughty children may at some point present symptoms but someone with ADHD has them at all times," the Telegraph quoted lead author Dr Benjamin Keene, as saying.
Researchers have suggested that better educational resources need to be made available to teachers to help them accurately identify those children with ADHD, and that CAMHS teams should develop structured school observation tools or telephone interview schedules, so that identified children can be independently and expertly assessed in a classroom setting.
The results of the study carried out in East London will be presented at the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.