"We Can't Diagnose, But..."

August 31, 2018

By Wednesday of each week, I find myself in a bit of a self-imposed panic that I haven’t written the post yet for the week and feel the pressure of Friday looming (when the posts come out). What am I going to write about this week?  Have I written this before?  Is it fresh enough?  These and other such questions and concerns are running through my head.   At this point, I can’t believe that I am closing in on nearly 350 posts that have been put on the site.

I guess the self-imposed pressure has worked!

Usually, I write about “current events,” meaning things that I am dealing with currently that trigger an emerging theme.

This week’s theme is triggered by my ongoing frustration with the refrain, “He just can’t pay attention and you should take your child to the doctor.”

On the heels of that, parents are continually given code language from the school, such as,  “We’re not doctors and we can’t diagnose, but…”

This is a subliminal statement that, “Your child really needs to be on medication,” without actually saying it.

There are all kinds of reasons kids don’t pay attention.  Here are just a few of them:

  • They may be worried about things and preoccupied to the point of distraction.
  • Maybe they are “spatial thinkers” who are much better visually, but struggle with understanding (processing) language, hence not “paying attention” while the teacher is talking.
  • Perhaps they are weak, inefficient readers.
  • Maybe the worksheets they continually get are really, really boring.
  • Perhaps writing is excruciating.
  • Perhaps there are things going on in the family.
  • Maybe the kid is not getting along too well with the other kids in school or they are being ridiculed.  Boy, that would distract someone.

These are just off the top of my head as the coffee fully kicks in. (Yes, I rely on my version of stimulants).  I could easily list 20 more.

ADHD (some will refer to it as “ADD”) is not something that has an agreed upon objective way of being measured or assessed. It is an impressionistic diagnosis based on a lot opinions..

It is my impression that we are far too quick to “diagnose ADHD” and that many factors need to be considered before jumping to that diagnosis.

Before filling that inevitable prescription you received after a fairly brief assessment using checklists as the primary information source, I would encourage you to check out other possible explanations as to why your child is not paying attention.

Back to my coffee!!!!!!!!!!

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