Are minority children afforded the same resources for the treatment of ADHD that Caucasian children receive?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Studies have shown that minority children do not usually have the same access to treatment options for ADHD as white children do.

There are several reasons why minority children are less likely to receive treatment for ADHD.  Some of these reasons are cultural and some are financial.

Minority children are more likely to face poverty, which can prevent treatment of any health condition but especially conditions like ADHD.  There are also cultural barriers to treatment, because many minority parents do not want to see their children labeled or medicated.

The barriers preventing minorities from seeking and using these treatments include a lack of culturally competent health-care providers, financial hurdles and little dissemination of information about treatments that work.(msutoday)

Interestingly enough, minority children are both disproportionately diagnosed with ADHD and less likely to get treatment for it.  Non-medication options such as changes in diet and lifestyle are even harder for low-income families.

[African-American parents] did not feel that it was a legitimate disorder so they did not seek medication. Caucasian American parents, who perceived ADHD as being a legitimate disorder, were more likely to seek information regarding the disorder and have their children put on medication. (

Obviously, if you do not think ADHD is real, you are not going to get your child treated for it. Some parents perceive the behaviors exhibited by children with ADHD as normal, therefore they do not consider ADHD a legitimate condition requiring medication.  Some parents are just suspicious about medicating their children, and may not be aware of or have access to other treatment options.

In order for minority children to get equal access to treatment options for ADHD, there has to be a many-pronged approach.  Educating parents about the symptoms and treatments is important, but so is demonstrating the condition's legitimacy.