Ever since the 1970s, a lot of parents and teachers have rushed into diagnosing their children as having ADD or its close cousin, ADHD. Unfortunately, while it’s great that parents and teachers are observing problems and working toward finding solutions, it is possible to get a little overzealous with it. Sometimes the symptoms which a child demonstrates can actually be symptoms, not of ADHD, but of an entirely different learning disability, or even a condition of their lifestyle. So instead of simply writing a prescription and calling that enough, it might behoove our medical and educational professions to take a slightly closer look at what is actually going on, and work to understand what the real problem is before we put too much effort into solving what it might be.
Inattention, hyperactivity and a general lack of impulse control are the main symptoms of ADHD. And they do not all need to exist in a particular child for the disorder to be in effect. However, these symptoms may also manifest themselves in cases such as a lack of sleep, if the child is being abused, or if there has recently been a death in the child’s family. These are not ADHD, and all of the pills on Earth will not address them properly. Can you imagine the asininity of prescribing a stimulant (as is often done for ADHD) to a child who is suffering from troubled sleep? Talk about throwing gasoline on a fire.
Can you imagine the horror of believing a child is being inattentive, when their only problem is an ear infection? If the child can’t hear, paying attention can be a little difficult for them. As Steven Covey says, a person is most effective when they first seek to understand, and then seek to be understood. Unfortunately for many children, parents and teachers have become so used to the notion of ADHD, it’s seen as the default condition for children to have.