We wanted to survey physicians in the Washington, DC, metropolitan
area regarding the frequency with which physicians, teachers, parents, and others
first suggest the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A questionnaire was mailed to all family physicians, primary care
pediatricians, and child psychiatrists in greater Washington, DC. In answer to the
question, “Who first suggests the diagnosis of ADHD?” respondents assigned
percentages to primary care physicians, consultants, parents, teachers, etc.
Teachers were most likely to be first to suggest the diagnosis of ADHD
(46.4%; 95% CI, 44.1%-48.7%), followed by parents (30.2%; 95% CI, 28.3%-
32.0%), primary care physicians (11.3%; 95% CI, 9.7%-12.8%), school personnel
other than teachers (6.0%; 95% CI, 4.9%-7.2%), consultants such as child
psychiatrists or psychologists (3.1%; 95% CI, 2.3%-3.9%) and other specified
categories (3.0%; 95% CI, 2.4%-3.6%).
Teachers and other school personnel are often the first to suggest
the diagnosis of ADHD in children in the greater Washington, DC, area. Regional
variations in the prescribing of medication for ADHD may be caused at least in
part by variations in the likelihood of a teacher suggesting the diagnosis of ADHD.