Recent research by experts from the Macquarie University reveals doctors are being pressure to give children a diagnosis of behavior problems they probably do not have, in order to get them admitted to special education schools.
The west and southwest of Sydney have a number of special schools and support classes catered to assist children, particularly boys with diagnoses of emotional and behavior issues.
According to Linda Graham, researcher from the university, there were 3 different significant studies that highlighted pressures on paediatricians to inflate diagnoses so kids get support in class.
The enrolments for children with behavior disorder in special schools in NSW had increased by 254 per cent between 1997 and 2007, and there was a drop of 60 per cent of kids with hearing, visual and physical disabilities during the same time, revealed the research.
At the same time, emotionally disturbed diagnoses shoot up by 139 per cent in support classes in regular NSW primary schools.
In support classes in regular NSW high schools, the diagnoses for autism increased by 280 per cent, emotional disturbance rose 348 per cent and behavior disorder by 585 per cent during the same period.
Interestingly, the diagnoses of behavioral disorder increased significantly from 2002, coinciding with the building of special schools for children with behavior issues in NSW.
Dr Graham who is also a fellow researcher with the Centre for Research into Social Inclusion said children are being diagnosed with things they don't have.
Southwestern Sydney which has 17.5 per cent of total enrolments in NSW government schools has 26.5 per cent of enrolments in special schools and support classes.
Western Sydney which has 13.7 per cent of total enrolments has 17.8 per cent enrolments in special schools and support classes.
In northern Sydney, the enrolments of children in special schools is only 5.7 per cent as compared to 11.5 per cent of total school enrolments.
The disparity was not surprising, said Choong-Siew Yong, spokesman for Australian Medical Association as parents in wealthier suburbs could afford the extra education assistance for their children.
Parents are sometimes being informed by schools if they child's behavior seems to match another child with a specific problem and recommended to visit the paediatrician for further analysis if the child requires special education funding aid.
Gary Zadkovich, deputy president of NSW Teachers Federation said more students get enrolled in the Australian schools with special education needs thanks to the advancements in medical science.