TED Conversations

Robert Winner


This conversation is closed.

1 in 10 US children has ADHD says the CDC

When I read this headline that 1 in 10 has ADHD in MSN Healthy Living on 11-25-13 I immediately thought of Ali Carr-Chellman and her talk : Gaming to re-engage boys in learning. If you are a boy you are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed as ADHD and even higher if you are poor or black.

Why would this be true? Do we really have that extreme of a problem? Has the education system contributed to this issue? If your child is diagnosed and takes the popular meds for ADHD ... Ritalin or Concerta .. are there consequences later in life like elimination of jobs or careers.

Granted there are always extreme issues that need meds ... but not all. Should we be looking for alternatives ... what are some alternatives?

Teachers ... parents ... adults previously diagnosed with ADHD chime in.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 27 2013: They diagnosed me as a kid with "learning disabilities" and prescribed Ritalin. This was all done through the school system. I have to admit it did make me focus better however the side effects out weighed the benefits.

    The schools use their implied/real authority to addict children to profitable psychiatric drugs, this appears to be done tacitly as there is good money in this . The reality is that the drugs are superfluous. Another reality is that attention span disorder is simply a manifestation of poor study skills and a poor understanding of grammar. A bit of logic would lead an investigator on this subject to say the solution is elementary i.e. consider when the kid first started having problems I would indicate that it correlates with the introduction of grammar.

    This is apt:


    BTW Tom Woods is awesome at showing people how to look. He is a PHD from Harvard.
    • thumb
      Nov 27 2013: I listened to the part of the linked presentation that was about ADHD, and what the speaker explains is exactly on target. The only difference in my experience is that I have not been in situations in which the school referred the child for assessment for ADHD. In my experience with adolescents it has always been parents who want an explanation for why their child is under-performing relative to parental expectations.

      When a parent or school seeks the diagnosis, the teachers typically need to fill out forms for the assessment professional that describe the child's behavior at school. I have filled out such forms on psychologist's request for numerous thirteen and fourteen year olds, and I cannot remember a single one of those that I personally thought was suffering from ADHD.

      I have taught kids who I would say show clear signs of ADHD..I have not taught the early grades the speaker refers to. I am frankly shocked and alarmed that ADHD is being diagnosed for kindergartners.

      Knowing how to accommodate kids who need always or usually to be moving is not actually a hard part of teaching. As a simple example, large numbers of adolescent boys like to drum with pencils while seated. If they are invited to do their drumming on their own legs rather than on the desk, no one is disturbed by it.

      There is also no need, often, for a kid to sit in the typical position in which adults sit in chairs. Some kids work better on their knees in the chair. This is another thing that is so easy to recognize and allow.
      • thumb
        Nov 27 2013: The whole thing is a created reality everyone is complicit (another case of how is the water?). The parents are seeking answers of which the school system naturally points the finger elsewhere. As the speaker points out since the implementation of no child left behind ADHD diagnosis has gone up 22%. He also mentions that this problem is greater in the U.S.

        I like your simple ideas of how to control students with simple things.

        I would say that people are oblivious to the physiological problems associated with study, E.G. your students drumming habit is a physiological symptom of a study problem.
    • thumb
      Nov 27 2013: Pat, Great site .. I listened to the talk .... the key for me was the part about insurance. If the school psychologist does not make a diagnosis then the only alternative is to return the kid to class. If they make a diagnosis of ADHD then they can get paid for the treatment of both the behavior modification and the meds. So ... as usual it is not about kids ... it is all about money.

      The second element is that schools (teachers, principals, superintendents) are all tied to the high stakes testing. If a kids goes into the "special" programs they are exempt from the testing results and brings the average class and school grade up. So any kids that poses a threat to the successful testing is a candidate for special programs.

      IMO the government interference is a direct result of the high numbers we are seeing in this diagnosis. Teachers are under strict guides of what and when to present to cover all of the test items ... teach the test ... Johnny fidgeting in his chair disrupts that schedule .... report him and save your career ?????

      The last area is you cannot get government jobs if your are taking Ritalin and must be assessed if you ever took it. So do you lie or man up. Tough price for a kid to pay so that the school can get special programs funds.

      Thanks for the reply .... Bob.
      • thumb
        Nov 28 2013: Kids with ADHD don't go into special programs anywhere I have taught.
        • thumb
          Nov 28 2013: Here they are put in special education program .. they have a IEPT specific to their needs. We have a few even in our small district.

          Our State Superintendent is a lawyer ... career politician ... with eyes on the governors office named Tom Horn .... he has set us back into the stone ages.

          Interesting that some would and some would not separate .... I wonder if that is a decision of the school psychologist? I am related through marriage to the district professional here ... I shall pose the question? Get back to you soon.

          Thanks for the reply. Bob.
      • thumb
        Nov 28 2013: Here we have something called a 504 that does specify any special accommodations a student needs in the regular classroom, but a student whose only learning challenge is ADHD would be right in with the other kids.

        Kids with ADHD are much more similar to the regular classroom kids than to the kids that qualify here for special services.

        Do ask your relative why they separate.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.