Date of Award

Spring 4-2-2018

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Laurie Wellner

Third Advisor

Dr. Sue Singh


Purpose. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify and explore behaviors of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in female elementary students as perceived by elementary school principals, elementary school psychologists, and elementary special education teachers.

Methodology. This study identified and described the lived experiences of school principals, school psychologists, and special education teachers working with female elementary school students diagnosed with ADHD. Participants were purposively selected based on their professional knowledge and experience working with elementary students diagnosed with ADHD. The 11 participants comprised of three elementary school psychologists, four elementary school principals, and four elementary special education teachers. The semi-structured interviews were transcribed and the qualitative data were analyzed using the NVivo® computer software program.

Findings. Review of the qualitative data in this study revealed a variety of findings. First, professional development related to ADHD was inadequate among all school personnel. Additionally, descriptions of behaviors such as impulsivity and hyperactivity were reportedly similar in female and male elementary students with ADHD; however, female elementary students with ADHD were reported to experience more social difficulties and inattentiveness. Male elementary students with ADHD were purported to display more aggressive behaviors. Examples of behavior goals included time on-task and were integrated into IEP goals or 504 plans. The ratio of females referred to SST for ADHD behaviors was considerably less than their male counterparts. Medication was an unexpected finding.

Conclusions. Based on the findings of this study and supported by the literature, it was concluded that female elementary students with ADHD were significantly impacted by how their behaviors were perceived by school personnel.

Recommendations. Further research is recommended to replicate the present study at the middle school and high school level. Other recommendations for studies included examining the effectiveness of the SST processes, exploring the lived experiences of male elementary teachers with female students with ADHD, and comparing perceptions among general education teachers.