Parents' perceptions of acceptability of medication to treat emotional behavioral disorders in children
Podaima, Colleen Beverly Penner
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Emotional Behavioral Disorder (EBD) is a term used within the educational system to describe those students who in spite of supports for their emotional and behavioral difficulties, continue to struggle academically and negatively impact their peers. Children with EBD are one of the most difficult segments of the education population to integrate into the regular classroom due to their disruptiveness and the individuality of their needs. Strategies that have been used to help children with EBD include those with a cognitive and/or behavioral focus (both individually or in the classroom setting), those aimed at improving parenting skills and those that use prescription medication either by itself or as an adjunct to more behaviorally oriented treatments. In spite of increased usage and proven efficacy, however, many parents are reluctant to consider medication as a treatment alternative, and those who opt to use medication perceive their child stigmatized in their educational experience. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore parental perceptions of medication use to address Emotional Behavioral Disorders and their satisfaction with using medication to address school based difficulties. Using grounded theory methodology, in depth, open-ended interviews with seven mothers of students identified as EBD were used to obtain information about their experiences and perceptions. Interviews were analyzed using a constant comparative method. The findings suggest that parents’ decision to use medication to address a child’s behavioral difficulties were based primarily on their own history of medication use and their relationship with school personnel. Implications and recommendations for school personnel and planning are then summarized.