Let’s Discuss AD(H)D

I have an issue I’d like to get your opinions on… I’ve had a handful of students over the years with diagnosed ADD or ADHD (okay… more than a handful…).  I know there’s a lot of concern in the education world right now about overidentification of students with ADD/ADHD.  For a while, it seemed like every kid had it and that parents knew what doctor to take their kid to to get him/her put on Ritalin.  My district has recently put some stricter mandates in place to keep this from causing us to have so many Special Ed. students who qualify only for this Other Health Impairment (OHI), and that should help with the overwhelming number of these kiddos receiving Special Ed. services when a 504 placement would suffice.  But that’s not the issue that concerns me today…

What I want to hear your thoughts on are students who probably have AD(H)D, but whose parents either can’t or won’t do anything about it.  As a teacher, I’ve witnessed many cases over the years of students who I knew were on medication and how they function with and without it.  I have had students who refused to take their medicine for a day or two, and once the effects wore off, they were an entirely different child.  While I understand that many parents are fearful of over-medicating or needless medicating, I can testify to the fact that some people in this world NEED these medicines.  And if the parent is averse to medications in general, how about trying to find other ways to help the child be successful?

Some studies suggest changes in diet can help

I have seen both extremes: 1) a student who needs it, but can’t get it or won’t use it, and 2) students who have such high doses that they become zombies.

At what point does it become parental neglect to allow your student to be unable to progress academically because he/she cannot focus in class?

Hear me correctly… this is not the “woe is me” frustrated teacher rant that you may hear elsewhere.  This is genuine concern for students.  I’ve seen kids get so frustrated while trying to learn with severe and untreated cases of AD(H)D.  I’ve had parents tell me that they don’t see a problem at home, so the problem must be at school and we should fix it.  Which means the child suffers.

Teachers need as much support from home as possible.  We understand that parents are busy and that the problems at home may not be the same as the ones we face at school.  And we know that there are other things going on in your lives.  But, for your child’s sake, take the time to work WITH the school to find a way for your student to be successful.

So, what are your thoughts on this?  Have you had an related experiences as a teacher, as a child or as a parent?

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