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The Overdiagnosis Of Adhd In Children

1804 words - 7 pages

As a college student, the amount of students on powerful meds for ADHD and ADD is shocking. It is a topic seen in every classroom and heard in many dialogues. Conversations can be overheard frequently about how easy meds are to get and how effortless it is to receive a diagnosis. However, while I know that a vast number of students are taking prescription drugs for ADHD, I don’t think that I ever realized the full extent to which this disorder was effecting America’s youth. It wasn’t until I spent my time volunteering as a paraprofessional in a fourth grade classroom that I felt I truly understood the weight that the number of ADHD diagnosis’s were having on our nation’s children. The supervising teacher I was working with told me that in her classroom of 22 children, six of them were on some sort of prescription medication for ADHD, and many parents that I spoke to tended to blow off the risk factors involved, remarking that the drugs improved their school performance. I was shocked at this figure, especially because after working with the children, even on the days that they forgot to take their medicine, I found that by using different methods of instruction, many of the children didn’t seem to have much less trouble focusing than the children who did not have ADHD. So when we were assigned this paper, I set out to disprove the myth that children who act out in school have must ADHD and need to be put on prescription drugs in order to do well in school.
ADHD is a disorder that has been on the rise for several years now. The disorder is one that can cause many impairments to a child’s attention span, making it difficult to concentrate and to keep on task, especially on schoolwork. (Graham, 2007) The statistics have been growing rapidly, and the number of cases has risen 41% in the past decade alone, with 11% of school children currently on medicine for it. This isn’t a trend that is going to change anytime soon either, as the American Pediatric Association has recently put out a statement saying that they plan on changing the guidelines and the definition of ADHD. Basically by doing this it would allow more people to be diagnosed with ADHD more easily, and it would become much easier to receive treatment for it, and prescription drugs would be much easier to come by. (Schwarz, 2103)
So why is it that so many children are being immediately put on medications? According to my supervising teacher, Katie Rhodes, Many of the teachers see an academic improvement with their students immediately once they are put on medicine, therefore they are more motivated to refer kids to the doctor and believe that academic performance is greatly impacted by the drug. (Rhodes) According to the New York times, medications such as Adderall and Ritalin have the capacity to give children with the diagnosis to lead a normal life, and as they tend to improve a child’s focus and drive, many parents, doctors and teacher’s see a rise in academic performance once the drugs...

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