Why are there an overwhelmingly number of children being recommended to be tested for ADD/ADHD?
It seems like so many students are being diagnosed these days. I have also been in several classrooms: public and private and it seems like 60% of the students were off task or severely out of control. They would not stay seated for long, spoke out of turn, or were laughing and talking out loud. However, is this does this justify a teacher to suggest that the child needs to be tested? I would suggest that these children who are misbehaving are lacking in discipline from the home.
barry jennings answers:
Hi teebop –
Great question, and great points all around. It does seem like a lot more people are being diagnosed with ADD / ADHD lately, or at least being suggested that they have the condition. Before I take my personal position on the matter, let’s look at some facts.
1. Our awareness about ADD / ADHD has increased tremendously over the past 10-15 years (for better and for worse). From this understanding, we have realized that ADD / ADHD is NOT just a condition represented by that hyper little boy who can’t sit still, can’t focus, and who is always getting in trouble at school.
ADD / ADHD is a condition that affects girls almost equally as in boys. We have also learned a great deal about ADD / ADHD over the lifespan and this condition does not get “outgrown” in adulthood, but simply the symptoms and experience of the condition changes.
2. Public opinion and misunderstanding leaves much to be desired. There is a very poor understanding by the public about just what ADD / ADHD is and who actually has it. Too many people, including professionals believe that ADD / ADHD is a true deficit when in fact it is a condition represented by “differences.”
I am NOT going to suggest that with ADD / ADHD there are no real struggles and challenges, but if you look at societal expectations, it really does follow the metaphor of trying to take square pegs and forcing them into round holes.
Different people require different things from the world. It’s that simple at the most basic level.
3. Attention and expectations are rapidly changing in our society. We notice distraction and difficulty focusing today, much more than before, simply because the demands on us (adults) and children are increasing, while our time remains the same.
If you pay attention to advertising statistics alone, you will know that we are being bombarded with more messages and “attention grabbing” commercials and ads than ever before. How can we be expected to know what to pay attention to when society is sending us too many messages to begin with?
Now back to the question at hand and the point you are making. One can argue, and I would agree, that a child’s behavior is and often can be a representation of what is going on at home. Absolutely! But, with ADD / ADHD, there is some truth to the fact that parenting style does NOT cause ADD / ADHD. Instead, there often tends to be a mismatch in parenting style and understanding what a child needs from that parent.
ADD / ADHD (in simple terms) is a condition by in which an individual experiences the world very differently than the non-ADHD person. They see the world differently. They process situations differently, and they respond to the world differently. Differences are everything here, and we really need to be focusing on differences and NOT deficit.
So, teachers in the classroom do mean well, but let’s be honest, they are NOT trained to make a diagnosis. Rather they are merely a professional in the child’s life who can make suggestions based on what they observe and see in the classroom.
I think we have a long way to go in understanding and educating the public on what ADD / ADHD really is, and what these children need for supports.
Hope this helps a little.
Rory F. Stern, PsyD
“Former therapist” and ADHD Expert
How can you help an ADHD child want to learn?
My 12 year old son is ADHD. At one point in time, ffom K thru 3rd grade he was a straight A student and he loved to learn. Doing his homework was never a problem for him. He loved to experiment with all kinds of subjects. Then when he got to the 4th grade he got a teacher that stereotyped him as bad because of his ADHD. She sent him to the principle for even the littlest thing ex. bending down to pick up a pencil he dropped on the floor so he could finish his classwork. When he tried to explain to her what he was doing she said he was defiant ans argumentitive b/c he should have went without trying to explain what happened. That year he was sent home at least once a week for teacher accused dissrupting, being defiant and argumentitive. Since this year he has given up trying in school. His grades are poor and he has developed a “don’t care” attitude about school. He has been seen a therapist for 2 years to try and help him. It has helped some but not as much as I would like.
I want to help him get excited about learning again, and to remember how much fun it can be. He is in his first year of Jr High now and I want him to excell. If anyone has any suggestions on ways I can try to get him back interested and excited about school i would live to hear them.
barry jennings answers:
From what i view, i hope this will help:
1st: that kid got humiliated by that senseless teacher reason 1 why he doesn’t wanna go to school
2nd: try to fight back that teacher,of course not in physical way but the smart way(the way that works for me that i did on the teacher which has the same attitude as him,nobody likes the teacher, talking the logical way and the truth is the strongest will that support in a argument, if you want, get a small Camera for your kid and tape what happen when the teacher got fussy again, that will be a concrete proof and Sayonara to that teacher.
This might sounds a bit….bad but….your son isn’t wrong and he has the right to fight back! (sry for the lawyer talking style,as i suffer the same as he do, and i solve it myself cause i think it’s the right way)
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