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July 20th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Parents say drug therapy, school key in ADHD

Drug therapy and making a switch in schools- to one better prepared to work with children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – are the most effective treatments for those with the condition, a Consumer Reports Health survey finds.

The analysis included parents of more than 900 children or adolescents under the age of 18 who had ADHD, which is characterized by excessive and prolonged inattentive behaviors, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The CDC estimates that 4.5 million children aged 5-17 in the U.S. had an ADHD diagnosis in 2006.

Turning to medications is common among families dealing with ADHD. According to the survey, 84 percent at least try them and a third of parents said the drugs helped when it comes to academic performance and school behavior. They also modestly helped with behavior at home and in social relationships.

"I think at some point it comes up as a possible treatment as it should," said Dr. Orly Avitzur, medical adviser for Consumer Reports and practicing neurologist,  "because there are times when the effects of medication are very dramatic in a child who is very inattentive, unfocused and hyperactive; they can become basically a different person when it comes to the ability to pay attention, concentrate and so forth."

But not all parents were satisfied, Avitzur points out. The side effects to consider include a decreased appetite, sleep problems, weight loss, upset stomach and irritability. Just over half of the parents surveyed said that if they had to do it all over again, they strongly agreed that they would have their kids take medications.

Nondrug strategies, including switching schools, also worked well for some parents and children.

"Some schools are more attuned (to ADHD) than others," Avitzur said.

If switching schools is not an option for your child, having an advocate within the school such as a counselor may help.

"The biggest problem with ADHD is that parents fear a deterioration in academic performance, and I think getting the school to work with you and the child is a fundamental strategy that can be of great help. You also need the feedback of what's happening at school. Have a close back and forth with the teachers to see what's working and what isn't working," Avitzur added.

Avitzur said parents need to know that it takes a team of specialists to get the best results for your child- from pediatrician to a psychologist or tutor who understands ADHD.

Visit Consumer Reports Health for the entire survey and information about ADHD medications.


soundoff (498 Responses)
  1. Parent

    I think it it shocking that people think a treatment's 70% failure rate is acceptable. My family knows a chemically treated young man with severe behavioral problems that are the reason for his being medicated. He is unaffected by his medicines and his parents have the smug attitude that everyone must simply accept his obnoxious behavior because they've done their parental duty by medicating him. His behavior has made him unwelcome in our home and I feel sorry for him, but he trots out his diagnosis every time as an excuse for breaking things or acting rude. I believe he needs more types of help than just a "magic"pill. It is obvious medicine is not enough in his case.
    I also know for a fact that the schools here demand children to be placed on these medicines at extremely young ages (preschoolers as young as three) claiming to be EXPERTS in the diagnosis of ADHD & ADD. This can lead to a lot of misdiagnosis, because young children are so variable at developmental milestones. These same school officials; who possess no medical certifications; demanded our child; who has a a congenital heart rhythm disorder; be placed on ritalin because the child was being emotional in the classroom. The risk of death was so high we refused despite being threatened with the child's removal from the school's gifted classes. We then had the child evaluated by a physician, who found no evidence of ADHD &ADD. We also discovered the schoolteacher was forcing the child to do daily asthma treatments in the classroom to save the teacher extra instructional time, and also allowing the classmates to make fun of the child during it. Turns out poorly controlled asthma and/or asthma medications can cause emotional outbursts, and so does cruel teasing. We transferred the child to another school, and got the asthma under control with newly available treatments. We also worked hard to help the child recover from the experience. We were rewarded for our efforts when our much happier child scored a perfect 800 on the SAT reading section. I do wonder just how many of the drug's failure rates are caused by other types of problems that are pigeonholed into the ADHD & ADD category instead of being properly diagnosed and treated.
    With the failure rate so high for these medications; it is clear we need to work much harder on proper diagnosis and in the development of better and less dangerous treatments. We also need to stop this quick fix approach too. Better sustained coordination between a child's parents, doctors, behavioral therapists, and teachers is also a goal we should work towards to improve a child's chance of learning to help themselves throughout life. I feel our children deserve our best efforts.

    July 20, 2010 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Susie

    Has anyone (especially neurologists out there) have any experience using omega-3s, in addition to the treatments mentioned, to help with Adhd symptoms. My friend swears that her kids behave better when they eat Gudernoobs made by WooHoo Foods b/c they're packed with omega-3s. Just wondering?

    July 20, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • andy

      susie, my wife talked to someone recently about adhd etc and they told her that they give vitamin c, fish oil at night, and some other stuff. they said it works. Sorry i don't have the exact info, but diet and vitamins might help some.

      July 21, 2010 at 02:05 | Report abuse |
  3. DOC

    Let's face it, we fear what we cannot control...and we especially fear what we cannot control with our kids. We want them to grow up normal, to have good experiences, to excel in the profession or life that they choose. ADHD/ADD is something we cannot control – but does that mean it is bad? For me, as an educator, I would say sometimes, Yes, sometimes No. Look at the spectrum of commentary on this board – some people resent the medication, some praise it, some say it took years to embrace and used it as a last resort with great results and some found other solutions that worked better...I think the most important thing is to figure it out VERY carefully with your kid and the appropriate, knowledgeable persons (I'd say professionals...but sometimes they are NOT).

    There is NO easy answer; some kids are absolutely drop dead brilliant without meds, but a pain in the keister as well...should we medicate them? Others will disrupt your class, ruin your lesson...and yes, even if that lesson is burying an item out back of the school, having the students dig it up, and use the scientific method to determine what it is...i.e. not your traditional, boring lesson. Should they be medicated...maybe? But maybe NOT; what if they determine by some quantum leap what the cure for cancer is...and I don't say that lightly. There is no easy answer, and NO worthy parent – and there appears to be quite a few of them on this board – wants to see their child in pain.

    150 odd years ago, surgeons during the Civil War routinely amputated limbs that would easily have been saved once Penicillin was developed; were they wrong? Nope – they just worked with what they had....just like us, right now. People aren't going to ruin their kids by medicating or not medicating them as a rule...they are going to ruin them by not caring for them.

    July 20, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ADHDStruggler

      DOC
      It is not good. The exhaustion and the pressure the constant racing in the brain is not good. I can tell you for sure that as someone who's struggled her entire life, I never signed up for this. I'm athletic, high IQ, very good profession, but I've struggled every second of my 30 years. It is not good.

      July 20, 2010 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  4. DOC

    Let's face it, we fear what we cannot control...and we especially fear what we cannot control with our kids. We want them to grow up normal, to have good experiences, to excel in the profession or life that they choose. ADHD/ADD is something we cannot control – but does that mean it is bad? For me, as an educator, I would say sometimes, Yes, sometimes No. Look at the spectrum of commentary on this board – some people resent the medication, some praise it, some say it took years to embrace and used it as a last resort with great results and some found other solutions that worked better...I think the most important thing is to figure it out VERY carefully with your kid and the appropriate, knowledgeable persons (I'd say professionals...but sometimes they are NOT).

    There is NO easy answer; some kids are absolutely drop dead brilliant without meds, but a pain in the keister as well...should we medicate them? Others will disrupt your class, ruin your lesson...and yes, even if that lesson is burying an item out back of the school, having the students dig it up, and use the scientific method to determine what it is...i.e. not your traditional, boring lesson. Should they be medicated...maybe? But maybe NOT; what if they determine by some quantum leap what the cure for cancer is...and I don't say that lightly. There is no easy answer, and NO worthy parent – and there appears to be quite a few of them on this board – wants to see their child in pain.

    150 odd years ago, surgeons during the Civil War routinely amputated limbs that would easily have been saved once Penicillin was developed; were they wrong? Nope – they just worked with what they had....just like us, right now. People aren't going to ruin their kids by medicating or not medicating them as a rule...they are going to ruin them by not caring for them.

    July 20, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. STAYSI

    HOW COME ALL THESE LITTLE KIDS AND LINDSAY LOHAN CAN GET ADDERALL BUT I CANT SEEM TO GET A PRESCRIPTION??!!! ANY COLLEGE STUDENT OUT THERE CAN FINISH IN 4 YEARS WITH THIS MIRACLE DRUG!!! OH HOW I MISS YOU........

    July 20, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Elliot

    Nobody chooses these disorders. They are quite real and I am old enough to have experienced the 'old school' way of dealing with it-yelling at kids to 'shut up and sit down' and outright beatings. Oh yay the good old days! It's not easy to get a doc to listen to an adult pushing 50 about it either. I've spent my whole life undiagnosed/untreated (not by choice) and it has been more difficult than it needs to be for me and those around me. One does learn half-a**ed coping skills eventually but I think of the impact it's had on my earning potential and it makes me physically sick. I don't think anyone who doesn't have personal experience with this should stick a cork in it.

    July 20, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Terrylynne Turner

    The ignorance displayed is amazing. All the current nueropsych research shows that these student simply develop in those areas of the brain more slowly (up to three years) than an average child. We used to hold many of them back in school. Smaller class sizes help also. Few if any actually "need" medication but simply the awareness of the adults (medical, education and home) to allow them to mature at their bodies pace. This is a societal issue not a medical issue.

    July 20, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. angryStudent

    how is it before the 1990's hardly any children had ADHD, but afterwards teachers seemed convinced that all children have it? It's annoying and pathetic. Fellow teachers, grow some balls and handle the kids the way they are meant to be! Stop trying to make future meth addicts, zombie like behaviors, and serious brain damaged children! People don't even understand what the side effects of these medications are. It's always fun watching another child become prone to seizures, severe shaking, or other various psycological oddities occur. Great, now you've made a usually social child completely anti-social. STOP DRUGGING CHILDREN!

    July 20, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Dan

    When my son was 8 his school and my ex diagnosed him as ADHD. Even though a therapist said he was not ADHD meds were prescribed for him anyway. Then came 6 months of hell. He meds kept him from sleeping and quite frequently he would end up in tears at 1:00 a.m. His mother told me to buy a CD player and a sleep CD to help him relax. It didn't work. Then she told me to buy a all natural sleep aid. It didn't work. Then she told me to give him 1/2 of a Tylenol PM. What the hell? She drugs him so his teacher is happier and then she wants me to drug him so he can sleep. My ex and his teacher said they saw improvement when he was medicalted I never did. He was always a good student. Just bored. We delayed his strat into kindergarten so he would mature. Wrong decision. He was way ahead of his classmates. Do not drug your kids to make it easier for the school to "teach" them.

    July 20, 2010 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Stacey

    TEACHERS ARE NOT DOCTORS!!!!! ADHD is a symptom of some underlying issue that has not been addressed.

    Drugging a child is a horrible form of treatment. Children are growing and have tons of energy they need to release many times throughout the day–Sitting in front of a television screen, no recess or less recess, eating crappy food, tired parents who eat crappy food, lack of parenting, and no one to teach these children self-control is ALWAYS a recipe for disaster.

    If you're too tired to fix a wholesome meal or spend time with your kids, at least put them in competitive sports so they can utilize all that natural energy and that way you can go back home and fix something healthy for your kids to eat.

    July 20, 2010 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Melanie

    I struggled with the fact that my son has ADHD for over three years. I tried restricting and c hanging diets and various behavior modification strategies. Didn't work! What did work was my facing the truth that my son-who is brilliant-was unable to control his actions. I tried the medication. This was a extremely hard decision for me as I am a health care professional and am very leary about medications. Since starting the medication, his self esteem and his interactions with other children and adults have improved and he is able to not only focus on his work at school, but really show the teachers how smart he really is.

    July 20, 2010 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Tracy

    There are so many comments and not enough time to read each one, so excuse me if this has already been addressed. I am an RN who worked in pediatrics and emergency. I have seen first hand what ADD and ADHD does to kids and families. Not pretty....sad and frustrating in fact. Then I had my son 8 years ago...he was a happy go-lucky baby (he was breast fed) and had no issues. Then he started eating "normal" food after age 1. By age 2 1/2 he was out of control. I tried multiple different discipline strategies with no success. The pediatrican said he may have to be evaluated for ADHD or even autism. he spoke words, but could not pay attention to save his life. He was not the typical 2 yr old. Then he started having severe headaches. Tyelnol and Motrin only seemed to make it worse. the pediatrician was very concerned about a brain tumor at this point and we went through the horror of waiting for test results. NOTHING! So he was supposed to be seen by multiple specialists. It was by sheer accident and luck that we discovered the food coloring in foods was causing his headaches and behavior/attention problems. We were all sick with a tummy bug and I made red jello. After 5 minutes of eating his jello, he started holding his head and screaming and then bouncing off the walls. I then took away all coloring and food preservatives. If he got any in his diet, it was instantly noticeable....red was the worst, but they all caused some degree of headache and behavior change. I look back and think "Did I go to school with a bunch of kids in the 70's with ADD or ADHD?" The answer is no. It was NOT under-diagnosed like everyone says it was. It is NOT genetic. It has everything to do with the significant increased levels of preservatives and chemicals added to our food supply since the 50's, 60's, and 70's. It runs in families because of the food we all eat that our parents ate. It was not so bad initially because in the 60's and 70's parents still thought sensibly and did not feed thier one year old McDonalds and garbage like that that like they do now. Do you honestly think all the chemicals put into food is GOOD for your children? It causes severe neuro problems, hene the rise in different spectrums of ADD and ADHD and even autism. I now have 3 children....if any of them has food with preservatives or coloring, a change in their behavior is noticeable within hours and can last for days. It scares me to think I would have gone down that road of ADHD or something similar had it not been for the headaches and the jello. I am now an advocate of raw milk, REAL butter, grass fed beef, eggs from healthy natural chickens, and so on. We have not gotten sick once from raw milk by the way (and yes it taste like milk from the store....just creamier). I think the diet is crucial and the reason parents may not get good results from diet changes is because the diet is often changed after a diagnosis which often does not aoccur until after age 4 when too much damage has already been done. If the diet is all natural from the start of life, I believe ADD and such can be completely eliminated as a possibility of ever occuring. (BTW the diet change cured my lifetime eczema, put me from the obese category to the normal category from losing over 60 pounds, and lowered my cholesterol significantly back to normal even though I am eating all the "typical cholesterol causing foods". )

    July 20, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      Tracy, I'm glad that worked out for you. But please don't think what helped your situation will be the solution for mine. If what you say is true, then both my kids would be identical since they eat the same diet. But, that is NOT the case. It is genetic. I have it. My son has it. My mother has it. The rest of my family does not. Your argument for "eating the same thing our parents did" is pure garbage. My mother grew up in Italy, France, the Congo and South Africa. She ate some of the freshest, healthiest foods and continued to do so when we were kids. PROCESSED FOODS WERE NOT PART OF HER DIET. They were barely part of mine. Living in Vermont we eat predominantly food from farm shares that are organic. If your argument was true, it would be my dad who would have suffered growing up in the states, not my mother. Sorry. you found a solution in your case. It was a complete and total failure in mine. Please don't treat all cases the same. That just shows ignorant. By the way – my wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law are all in the medical field. Your argument isn't not supported in medical journals and research, unfortunately. If they are, feel free to cite.

      July 20, 2010 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
  13. Josh

    I have ADD, and i can tell you, Medication is just another way of sweeping the core problem under the rug. I know where my ADD comes from ,and through research and putting my KNOWLEDGE into PRACTICE and into DAILY HABITS had shown me that like anything else, LEARNING, CONCENTRATING, and HABITS come from DISIPLINE and, the lack thereof, can be an error of bad Parenting, or bad conditioning. It's hard to relearn knew patterns of just about everythnig, but with practice, such as doing things the corrrect way, remembering where things go and putting them there EVERY time, and Meditation, which is a Concentrating exercise, you can "rehabit" yourself.

    Don't let Drug companies capitalize off of you people by buying their drugs, and them making you Believe that ADHD is actually a DISEASE, when the structure and the functionalism of your/your child's brain is fine...it just takes work....not just any kind of work, the right kind of work.

    This is comming from someone, who went from C's and D's to strait A's...and No it wasn't easy, but it's possible.

    July 20, 2010 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nonesuch

      You surely didn't get an A in spelling. I think you are full of it.

      July 20, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
  14. nonesuch

    The above is a response to Dave.

    July 20, 2010 at 23:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. nonesuch

    Dave the arrogant sez: Being a parent is hard. Your weakness is why you chose drugs as the solution. Not the child's. Have you not heard anything I've tried to say, Candi?

    Instead of being upset that I'm right and seeking other commenters for moral support you should be considering how what you do now impacts your child 15 years from now. Long after they've made it out of school carrying the stigma that they are ADHD when they're just bored and WAY under-stimulated intellectually by their school.
    ----
    And you have a degree in medicine? Education? Psychiatry? Psychology? What, exactly are your qualifications for telling anyone what they are doing right or wrong as a parent, when you've NEVER EVEN MET HER?

    Practicing medicine without a license is illegal.

    July 20, 2010 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. nonesuch

    @ Dave: you come across as an extremely arrogant, nasty jerk. You have no qualifications to diagnose anyone's child on the internet or to criticize her parenting. Where do you get the unmitigated gall to think you know anything about this subject at all?

    July 20, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mya

    PLEASE READ…. Man with 4 young babies fights for his life. See more at SaveStan. ORG

    July 20, 2010 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. sid

    I think its all that immunization that the doctors gives,MAKES THE BABIES CRAZY!!!

    July 21, 2010 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Lucy

    I thought my comments were worthwhile as a whole rather than as a response to Shane alone. I think I speak for many parents when I say that Shane is a little naive in his opinion.

    Lucy
    My personal experience is that ADHD is not the cause of bad grades but contributes to impulsive behavior that may influence a teacher. At the end of the day if you have instituted all reasonable punishments except for duct taping their lips and glueing them to their seats, it may take more than just discipline to solve a problem. Just like it may take more than a smiley card or two to solve depression.

    Two of my three children are ADHD, and one a female who is now in medical school, was not diagnosed until the summer of her senior year in high school. Incredible student and athlete, but something was not right with her organization or "constant chatting" as if her AP classes in Calculus and other sciences were kindergarten. The school was not the issue (elementary school being my exception as I have an issue with most elementary school teachers). My children are disciplined (knock on wood, but I am on my third teenage driver and my children have never had an accident nor a ticket). They are financially and socially smart, but fidget and speak their mind in class. Not always the best thing in a classroom environment.

    I found that a little medicine from a specialist (not a psychiatrist and certainly not your PEDIATRICIAN but a pediatric MD or a DO with a sub-pediatric specialty in learning and behavior disorders) combined with PARENTING skills, not that of the teachers (forgive me but the worst teachers are the young ones right out of college who were "teacher pleasers" and have not had children of their own and for the most part cannot handle a young restless normal little boy) can help solve problems. It takes a parent who is in tune with the requirements of the school, the requirements of society, and establishing early ground rules for studying and performance that allow the best outcome for the student.

    Why we rely on teachers (especially elementary teachers) who use the profession as a default career is beyond me. Although I am glad that the teachers who were ugliest to my children were the young less skilled professionals, without them, I would never have focused on other issues (that they missed) that were clearly ADHD related. Look, if the medicine isn't right, you'll know it 20 minutes after delivery. The improvements you'll see are in handwriting, organization and impulsivity. If you have a high octane child, they will still be high octane, but maybe take a second before they blurt out their opinion. If your child is a zombie on the classic ADHD medications, then the medicine is wrong for the child and ADHD may not be the right diagnosis.

    Be a parent first...you should recognize learning issues long before some school tells you about them. They are your babies. You know them better than anyone.

    July 21, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Lucy

    Dr. Gupta, please take Shane out of the top spot and feature some of the more reasonable responses.

    July 21, 2010 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. chubbysouth

    Please stop reproducing and making this genetic garbage.

    July 21, 2010 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Derek

    I've seen CONCERTA ads before, directed at children. MAKES ME SICK.

    Help them, school them, understand them, do not poison them with medications no one yet understands.

    July 21, 2010 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Nicole

    I agree with the article about how a school handles children with ADHD/ADD. I am a general education teacher with a degree in special education. I, personally, did not receive any specific training for students with ADHD/ADD; however, each time I have had a child with this diagnosis in my class, I have made a plan for helping that child be successful. It is not my job as a teacher to recommend medication. If a parent chooses not to medicate their child, then I have to respect that and find a way to help that child function to the best of their ability. As someone stated earlier, each child presents with ADHD/ADD differently. I meet with the parents and lay down the ground rules of acceptable behavior. I ask about routines discipline systems at home that are useful and try to incorporate them if possible. I send home a daily report about the child's day so the parent can see what's happening. If the child is on meds, these daily sheets are helpful for the doctor to see if there needs to be a change in the dosage. I believe that we need to meet children's needs as they are and not try to mold them into obedient little soldiers. Now, that doesn't mean I don't have a certain level of expectation in regard to behavior and academic effort because I most definitely do. Many of my co-workers will tell you that I am one of the toughest teachers on campus. However, I recognize that every child has different learning needs that must be accommodated. If a child needs to pace the room during a lesson, then they can do so. If a child needs to complete an assignment in smaller chunks and take two or three days to do it, then I find a way to make it happen. And yes, aside from the occasional classroom volunteer, I do this without any assistance. There are some parents who do abuse the system and do not make any effort whatsoever to help their child deal with this, but the vast majority are learning through trial and error what will work for their child. There is no instruction manual when dealing with kids, so you use what you know.

    July 21, 2010 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. stillin

    Dan, stillin here. You say the "long term affects of ridalin are well documented and are VIRTUALLY HARMLESS?" Cite that research please I don't believe it exists...ALL PRESCRIPTION DRUGS HAVE SIDE AFFECTS. Cite it for me so I can read the research you are referring to thank you.

    July 21, 2010 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Nina

    Please stop bashing the teachers. I am a teacher, and have been one for 16 years. I teach students with disabilities. This was a profession I chose because I was diagnosed with ADD (no hyperactivity) when I was 15. This was late 80s, and it was still virtually unknown. As a part of treatment, I saw a behavior specialist to assist with compensation skills. As a parent, I have a 13 year old daughter who was diagnosed with ADD, and a 10 year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD. I waited until 2nd grade to medicated my daughter. It was not an easy decision, and we conducted a lot of research before doing so. There were rating skills to complete, teacher evaluations, 6 weeks of observations by school personnel, etc. Teachers do NOT feel they are doctors. But we see your child almost as much as you do. A child spends up to 8 hours a day in schools, while they only spend 5 to 6 waking hours with the parents. Please give your student's teachers some credit and allow for the fact that they may know your child! Most school systems REQUIRE some sort of professional development regarding students with disabilities and attentional problems. We are not unaware, or uneducated. We are typically the first ones parents blame for their child's problems, and we get no credit when there is a success.

    As a parent, I accept my own responsibility of raising my son, but acknowledge that my son's teachers have a huge role in his life. It is up to me, as the parent, to keep in contact with the teacher. She has over 30 students, while I have 2 kids. As for my daughter, her teachers see over 100 students a day. Again, I have 2. Who's responsibility should it be? I chose to be a parent, and they are MY responsibility. I am grateful to have had wonderful support from the school system.

    I teach over 30 students a day. Mostly with Learning Disabilities and/or ADD/ADHD. I fully agree that medication is a positive force for some, and not others. But the one thing I fully agree on is that it is a TEAM decision. Parents, physicians, psychiatrists, teachers, and anyone else who knows the child well, should all be a part of the decision.

    July 21, 2010 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Dave

    @Juju
    Agreed. There is certainly a systemic problem with our education system. Somehow it's evolved to what it is today. When former U.S. President, and founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson went to school he was totally unfamiliar with concept of grades. People either succeeded or they didn't. Our system of teaching and grading does not measure or give insight to a student's depth of understanding or their ability to relate disparate concepts. Our current system simply measures their ability to memorize. Grades are not only an artificial indicator of a persons abilities-they're a recent invention. If all we are concerned with is test scores, give the ADD kids whatever medication works. I believe many truly gifted kids fly under the radar because, while their capacity for learning may far surpass that of a "normal" kid, the environment they are put in is stifling and does not reward the deeper analytical and creative abilities that seem common in ADD people.

    July 21, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Supportive Mom/Teacher

    Obviously Shane does not have children of his own and from one educator to another, it's a shame he's teaching ADHD kids without a true understanding of ADHD. It is possible that my youngest child, my daughter, may soon be diagnosed with ADHD. This past school year my husband and I worked with her classroom teacher, the school psychologist, and our pediatrician to find ways to help her stay focused in school. I anticipate that our work will continue this school year as well, and regardless we will continue to support her with whatever interventions necessary so that she is happy with who she is and can be successful in school.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Bob

    This is great news for the High school Coach.. Gee if you put a kid on amphetimines for academics. Why not steroids for sports! Seems like a double standard here! The real problem is America is being fed night after nite on TV commercials that drugs are the true and only way back to health. Do they even train Doctors in non-drug therapies! Whose making the big bucks on this approach! Just follow the money!

    July 24, 2010 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Jennifer

    I'm hearing alot of the same old argument. "If it was your kid, you'd feel differently" How can you know, until you've walked a mile in our shoes" Well, I have walked a mile (two, actually). I struggled with "symptoms of ADHD" all my life. I did poorly in school, acted out, lacked focus etc. I was in my mid thirties before I was finally diagnosed with...an entirely different disease. You never know when the medication that you're giving your child for "ADHD" is really masking the symptoms of a far more serious condition. ADHD is always the first thing we think when we see these behaviors, but they are also symptoms of some real medical condtions that unfortunately, more often than not, get overlooked, because we assume it's ADHD and look no further. The disease that I have is just one of many that is consistantly overlooked by doctors and school officials (who, by the way, shouldn't even be getting involved in your family's medical decisions) for the simple fact that they share symptoms with ADHD. Fast forward to 2010...My 10 year old son is struggling in school, it seems he can't focus and his schoolwork is suffering. And even though we've made the school aware of my inherited medical condition, and the fact that our son is showing early signs of having the same condition, and seeing specialists for it, they, along with their Neorologist are still trying to push ADHD down our throats. Why? Well, their job is too hard if they have to keep my child focused. One teacher told me that she wanted to put him in special education classes because (and I quote) "He's driving me crazy". This Neurologist, (who again, was appointed by the school) barely spoke to me or my son and never examined him in any way, he just read the schools reports. He wanted to hear nothing about any possible alternative diagnosis, his job was to prove that my son has ADHD, despite the fact that he has symptoms that ADHD cannot explain. I think many parents believe the ADHD lie because it's easier than taking responsibility. It's easier to have a reason for all the problems that your child is having. It's easier than working hard to help your child learn to cope in life. I have learned to cope with my disease and the affects it has on my body and mind. I plan on teaching my son to cope with them the same way I do.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. clk

    My 15 year old son has ADHD and I am very proud of our family support system. We have used non drug therapy by going to a therapist to learn more about the disorder and to teach my son more self control. ADHD is a brain disorder affecting the frontal lobe that directly affects self control. Children with ADHD have the maturity in most cases up to 30% less than their same age counterparts. Meaning, a 15 year old will act like a 10.58 year old in terms of maturity and self control. Over time and with a very disciplined structure in place, this will improve. We use a daily checklist of responsibilities and if these are completed, privileges may be earned. When the structure is gone, he has trouble staying on task. He was failing in the regular classroom for 5 years then we discovered the local county public virtual school which is the exact same program and same diploma just not in the regular classroom. He is able to focus and gets straight A's it is amazing and his self esteem is rising. Behaivoral therapy; solid structure at home; positive reinforcment and consequences; a flexible school setting such as virtual school; and a good healthy organic diet have helped my son. It is still a struggle but more positive for us.

    January 12, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jewel Quarterman

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.|

    http://www.0gcDWD7bCK.com/0gcDWD7bCK

    June 5, 2016 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.