by David Urion, MD, director of the Learning Disabilities/Behavioral Neurology Program at Children’s Hospital Boston
A recent study showed that one out of every ten children in this country is currently diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
That’s an astonishing number.
The study, done by the National Institutes of Health, also showed that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has been on the rise steadily since the mid-1980s, and that the number of children being treated with stimulant medication (such as Ritalin or Adderall) has been increasing over this same period.
We could discuss whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, and you could pick your favorite social evil to explain this apparent rise in ADHD. We could point to how sound bites have replaced intelligent discussion on TV. Or blame MTV, or ESPN’s plays of the week. Or all the technology that we grownups can’t use, but our offspring can. (In my case, that gives me a large number of choices). We can complain that the vast amount of information with which we are bombarded every day has made us all incapable of just sitting and listening. We can all be cranky about something, and say that is the cause of this increase in ADHD.
But in doing that, we might miss some very important pieces of information in this report. …
Billy is sitting in a chair in his third grade classroom, but can’t seem to find a comfortable position. He fidgets and adjusts, creating enough noise in the process to distract the other children around him. Sensing the disruption his teacher asks him read out loud, but after several attempts, Billy admits he isn’t sure what page the rest of the class was reading from. Some of the other students laugh as his teacher points out their place in the story, visibly annoyed at his inability to remain focused… …