The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-017-1300-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Rating scales are often used to identify children with potential Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), yet there are frequently discrepancies between informants which may be moderated by child characteristics. The current study asked whether correspondence between parent and teacher ratings on the Strengths and Weakness of ADHD symptoms and Normal behaviour scale (SWAN) varied systematically with child language ability.
Parent and teacher SWAN questionnaires were returned for 200 children (aged 61–81 months); 106 had low language ability (LL) and 94 had typically developing language (TL). After exploring informant correspondence (using Pearson correlation) and the discrepancy between raters, we report inter-class correlation coefficients, to assess inter-rater reliability, and Cohen’s kappa, to assess agreement regarding possible ADHD caseness.
Correlations between informant ratings on the SWAN were moderate. Children with LL were rated as having increased inattention and hyperactivity relative to children with TL; teachers, however, rated children with LL as having more inattention than parents. Inter-rater reliability of the SWAN was good and there were no systematic differences between the LL and TL groups. Case agreement between parent and teachers was fair; this varied by language group with poorer case agreement for children with LL.
Children’s language abilities affect the discrepancy between informant ratings of ADHD symptomatology and the agreement between parents and teachers regarding potential ADHD caseness. The assessment of children’s core language ability would be a beneficial addition to the ADHD diagnostic process.
Additional file 1: Recruitment flow diagram. Table S1. Differences between children included in the current sample (i.e. those with SWAN questionnaire data available from both parents and teacher) and those who are not included in the current sample. Table S2. Mean (SD) parent and teacher ratings on the SWAN for the whole sample and by language group, Figure S2. Marginal means of SWAN total score as rated by parent (dark grey bars) and teachers (light grey bars) for typical language (TL) and low language (LL) groups; error bars are 95% CIs. Description of findings shown in Figure S2. Table S3. rates of potential ADHD subtype identification by parents vs. teachers for the whole sample and by language group. (DOCX 95 kb)12888_2017_1300_MOESM1_ESM.docx
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- Does a child’s language ability affect the correspondence between parent and teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms?
Courtenay Frazier Norbury
- BioMed Central
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