MALAYSIAN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN
WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) IN INCLUSIVE SETTINGS
UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION
Malaysian preschool pupils with atypical behavioural problems which have impact on their learning and social interaction are scattered in mainstream school. Some of them may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The overall aim of this study was to explore ADHD empirically in Malaysian preschool children from an educational perspective in terms of whether the symptoms exhibited are demographically similar to those found in children in other countries as well as the impact of the symptoms in relation to classroom events in inclusive setting.
In examining the complex issue of ADHD a mixed methods approach was adopted. A teacher completed rating scale, ADHD checklist (ADHDC), was developed and its psychometric properties were evaluated. The ADHD was used to screen 533 preschool pupils in 28 mainstream classrooms from whom a sample of 10 pupils were identified as potential individual case studies. Structured and unstructured observations as well as interviews with relevant preschool teachers and targeted pupils were also used in data collection processes.
It was found that the stability of ADHDC items was high. Factor analyses indicated that the ADHDC factor structures were stable for boys, girls or both groups. Statistically, the ADHDC has sound psychometric properties. Comparing the ADHDC scores of particular pupils with ADHD and their comparison peers with the observation data supported the validity of the ADHDC rating. The observation study also confirmed that there were significant differences between the behaviours exhibited by pupils with ADHD compared to typically developing comparison peers. These pupils with ADHD were not popular in class and they were more likely to be neglected or rejected during classroom activity or interaction owing to their bahaviours. There was also a variation in symptoms exhibited and the way teachers dealt with the symptoms. A significant number of the symptoms in the majority of cases were more likely to be exhibited during academic lessons compared to least academic lessons. In examining the way teachers dealt with ADHD symptoms, several constraints faced by teachers were uncovered including lack of knowledge and skills although they were positive towards pupils with ADHD in their class. They predominantly used traditional methods in teaching and hence less pupils’ involvement in activity. The teachers were positive about pupils with ADHD in their class and perceived that these children progressively improved in their classroom behaviours.
This study concludes by recommending that the ADHDC may be useful for screening preschool pupils with ADHD symptoms and the data could be beneficial for planning educational provisions for those pupils. This study also suggests that inclusive education for preschool pupils with ADHD is a workable provision provided more appropriate training for teachers and further research including action research is carried out for better understanding of the situation and appropriate provision for pupils with ADHD in inclusive settings.