Mothers’ reflections on the role of the educational psychologist in supporting their children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
The characteristically disruptive conduct exhibited both at school and home by children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to be particularly emotionally difficult for the children’s mothers, who often turn to educational professionals for guidance. With a view to improving best practice in assistance to mothers and to promoting the tenets of inclusive education policy, the authors investigated the ways in which mothers experienced the support provided by educational psychologists. A qualitative interpretivist approach was adopted, with five purposefully selected mothers, whose children had previously been diagnosed with ADHD. Data was gathered from a focus group discussion and an individual interview. It emerged that mothers experienced parenting their children with ADHD as stressful, requiring continual reassurance and emotional support from educational psychologists. Having need of counselling for their families and academic help for their children, these mothers expected that educational psychologists should collaborate with educators and other role players, so as to enhance overall support to their children as learners. The findings pointed to the need for an effective inclusive school environment that forefront the role of educational psychologists in sharing knowledge and working collaboratively across the education system in South Africa.
Keywords: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; collaboration; educational psychologist; inclusive education; support