Underdiagnosis

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Are Minority Kids Being Missed In ADHD Diagnosis?

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

For years, doctors, teachers and parents have fretted that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is overdiagnosed and that children are overprescribed the stimulants that treat the brain disorder too often.

But, as EdSource Today reports, that’s not the case in California. According to new data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, California ranks 5th lowest in the country in diagnosis. The national average of children with ADHD is 7.9 percent, but in California, the rate is 5.2 percent.

That 5.2 percent rate may be a low one nationally. But globally, rates vary between 3 and 9 percent, “with the average closer to 5,” Prof. Joshua Israel told EdSource Today.

Still, within ethnic groups in California, the diagnosis rates drop dramatically. Kaiser researchers published data earlier this year which showed white children had a 5.6 percent rate — well in line with global averages. But other groups had much lower ADHD diagnosis rates as follows:

  • Black children: 4.1 percent
  • Latino children:  2.5 percent
  • Asian American children: 1.9 percent Continue reading