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July 28th, 2010
10:46 AM ET

ADHD teens more likely to drop out

Having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder  may make teens less likely to finish high school, says a new University of California, Davis study.

The study found almost a third of students with ADHD, don't graduate with their peers. That's high compared with the national high school drop out rate of 15 percent, says  lead study author Dr. Joshua Breslau.

When looking at the different types of ADHD, the study found all of the types of ADHD are associated with a high dropout rate.

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder commonly diagnosed in childhood. People with ADHD have trouble focusing, controlling impulsive behaviors and can be overly active. "High school dropout rate really is a national crisis. We know that a third of kids nationally who start in ninth grade don't graduate in four years," says Breslau.

The study also found students who use alcohol, smoke cigarettes and use other drugs are more at risk to drop out. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly a quarter of high school students in the U.S. smoke cigarettes and another 8 percent use smokeless tobacco. "Psychiatric disorders have an adverse effect on education, " Breslau says. "There are really two main disorders, ADHD and conduct disorder, and there is an interlinking of smoking and drop out that is troubling...it really suggests that socioeconomic differences in health are already becoming established very early in life in adolescents...whether they smoke is probably the biggest indicator of their health in adulthood."

Researchers say parents need to make sure they are working together with their schools so that the pediatrician and the child's teacher are communicating about the child's medical health and performance in school.    "We need to better integrate school health with what's schools do, education," says Breslau.

The study is published online in July in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.


soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Augsbee

    My cousin's son has ADHD and through many fights his parents had with the school, teachers he managed to graduate and make it to college. The teachers are not ready to deal with ADHD, teachers these days barely teach a curriculum as it is, most of them are into teaching their personal views, philosophy, feelings, wasting kids' time, so those with ADHD will be ignored and unless they have parents who fight the school, teachers, these kids will give up and drop out. This is not easy at all, very difficult, heartbreaking situation.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jackson

      We teachers teach the best we can with the students sent to us; while we modify and work with the whole spectrum of students with difficulties I find ADHD-ADD kids are sometimes the most difficult because parents refuse to try things on their end. Medication is one option, but so are a variety of behavior and calming techniques that are helpful. For the parents anti-drug I would pose the question if their child was diabetic if they would with hold insulin?

      July 28, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • max webster

      Your response is a bunch of crap. "Most teachers..." How do you know. Have you been in most classrooms?

      July 28, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      Not all children benefit from medication Jackson. Some children experience adverse reactions to the medications which may be even more disruptive in an educational setting. A majority of parents have tried behavioral modification at home, but have no control in a school setting. It takes teamwork.

      July 28, 2010 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • Warren

      Well said, Augsbee. As part of a thesis i interviewed as many of the students listed as 'drop outs' during one fiscal year.
      I had to get special permission to interview these students, many labled ADHD, Most were very inteligent and wanted to help other people. I felt that asking the question 'why did you drop out' would not get good answers. So, One of the questions I asked, "Why didn't you stay?" Many were silent for a moment, more than a few had tears run down their faces; the half whispered, then hald shoutd..."I would have stayed...IF Someone Had Cared!. I cried too. They are all out children.

      July 28, 2010 at 19:38 | Report abuse |
    • Ceily

      My son is ADHD. He was diagnosed at 3, I took him to the dr. because I thought he had a speech problem. He is 21 now, he struggled academically in elementary, middle school and high school, and he graduated, maybe not the top of his class, but he did it. There were teachers that were selfish and mean, but I went to bat for my son. Then there was teachers that helped me, help him. It is hard to raise a child with ADHD, thats like raising five children in one. He attends jr college now, he continues to struggle academically, but he's an amazing person and I know he will be successful.

      July 28, 2010 at 20:39 | Report abuse |
  2. What?

    I was just thinking....but then i forgot...Palin has a great melon patch. Did I leave the iron turned on? Bogart who? Baba Boooey Baba Booooey
    ooh look – pretzels

    July 28, 2010 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emma

      Let me guess: you're one of the 15%?

      July 28, 2010 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • DrFood

      I kind of feel bad about it, but I laughed for quite a while.

      Baba Booey!

      July 28, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
  3. A

    Bogart, take a gander, perhaps you are the one with genetic inferiority, read on. These are all people who have contributed to not only society but history and made the world a better place. Oh, BTW, all of them have/had adhd.

    Notice that these are all people who think "outside the box". There are also a lot of very creative people. Sometimes being a little "different" or not fitting into the norm, can work to your advantage. We hope this encourages you.

    Actors

    Bill Cosby Jim Carey Harry Belafonte
    Cher Kirk Douglas Ann Bancroft
    Dustin Hoffman Robin Williams Suzanne Somers
    George Burns Steve McQueen Tracey Gold
    George C. Scott Sylvester Stallone Whoopi Goldberg
    Henry Winkler Will Smith Lindsay Wagner
    James Stewart Tom Smothers Danny Glover

    Artists

    Pablo Picasso Vincent Van Gogh Ansel Adams

    Athletes

    Bruce Jenner Pete Rose Magic Johnson
    Jackie Stewart Babe Ruth Michael Jordan
    Nolan Ryan Jason Kidd Greg Louganis

    Inventors

    Leonardo Da Vinci Orville & Wilber Wright Benjamin Franklin
    Thomas Edison William Wrigley Alexander Graham Bell

    Scholars

    Sir Issac Newton Galileo Albert Einstein

    Statesmen

    Anwar Sadat Abraham Lincoln John F. Kennedy
    Winston Churchill Prince Charles Dwight Eisenhauer
    Robert F. Kennedy Woodrow Wilson Nelson Rockafeller

    Entrepreneurs

    Walt Disney FW Woolworth Andrew Carnegie
    Henry Ford Malcolm Forbes William Randolph Hearst

    July 28, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob C.

      I always thought Orville Wright had Asperger's syndrome. But Robin Williams' act is classic ADHD. And how could you forget Tigger and Winnie the Pooh?

      July 28, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • eman

      Robin Williams rambling comedic style is simply someone on Cocaine. That's been well know since Mork and Mindy.

      How do you "diagnose" so many historical figures with ADD or ADHD, being that most of them were dead LONG before this "disease" was ever identified? Anecdotal evidence written by biographers isn't reliable data. Who are the qualified experts who diagnosed these individuals, and where is te documentation of said diagnosis?

      July 28, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • KP

      You forgot Jesus.

      July 28, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • Ceily

      Great list, but most of these folks have had either a drug addiction, eratic behavior that has either got them in trouble or cause problems in thier marraige, and severe depression.

      All side effects of ADD or ADHD.

      July 28, 2010 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  4. Lisa

    Bogart,

    I am sure you are not educated because you would not even post such a comment. I have ADHD and have a masters degree and have a career. I don't usually comment on these sites but this was so ignortant I had to speak up...

    July 28, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nicki

      Lisa, I agree...and good for you and your achievements!!!

      July 28, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  5. Amazed by wierdos

    You have issues Bogart

    July 28, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. otto

    Wow! Another CNN news exclusive "ADHD Teens more likely to drop out". I'd like to see the fact checker who felt comfortable saying that the national average for drop outs is 15%. Using the term "ADHD" is pretty much akin to using the word "cancer" in that there is not a single form of ADHD and in fact there is a family of cognitive, auditory, and informational processing disorders that typically get kids labeled hyperactive. The inability for many kids learn in today's highly structured educational environments at the same pace as their peers is (in my opinion at least) a leading cause of not only drop outs, but of low self esteem, substance abuse, and general anti social behavior.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JMP

    As a parent of an ADHD child, who make it through high school, but did not graduate (did get GED). I tried a lot of different things to help my son, from drugs to special education. But as he turned into a teenager, I realized it was the way he was learning was the best solutions for him. Unfortunately, schools teach all kids the same way on standard classes. ADHD kids need specialized classes that help bring the way they learn and school together. There are a few schools out there that teach differently, but they are few and far between and cost money.

    More school districts need to change the way they are teaching or make some schools more specialized. I know this comes at a price when times are tough, but with a high drop out rate so high, something needs to change fast.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mystery Man

    I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 5. I remember I would get my work done quicker than everyone, and then get in trouble because I wanted to go talk to the kids. I would always end up in the corner, not because I wouldn't pay attention( though thats the teacher view) but because I would get it done quick and be bored. Some would say will children like that need to learn to listen better. I would say teachers need to feed these kids more work. My biggest problem is I think these children, if they were given the work at a faster pace, wouldn't get in trouble, because they are being challenged. I now for a fact that they would finish all of school probably by 14 – 16 years old, faster than the "norm" kids. And then we'll go from saying wow that kid is awfully bad to wow look how quick they retain information. You see what happens is when the are done and attempting to socialize they get put in a corner or get in trouble. It's like doing something right and getting in trouble for it. It's hard for a child to tell the differnce in the 2. I think we need a school system that allows children to excel past there grades quicker if they have the appetite for that much knowledge consumption. This is even more true if your medicating your child. Because it makes them hyper focus on stuff, if there nothing there to focus on, they wonder. It's sad, I think these children are gifts that are being mishandled, because theyre misunderstood. Oh by the way, I'm 25 now I'm a underwriter for a major bank. When I started working here, I advance quick because I learned quick. The difference is as a adult they don't hold you back, they want you to consume everything, if they'd done the same in school I would have excelled there too. It took until my adulthood to understand, because people always made me feel less than them. The truth is, I'll run circles around anyone, and my decision are more logically and not based on personal bias like most "normal" people are.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom to son who has ADHD

      Your comments our so on point. My son who is fourteen struggled and continues to struggle with the same issues. He retains information at such an alarming rate it is unbelievable. He was diagnosed with this disorder in third grade and take medication as well as different behavior approaches; however, the schools (teachers) are not really willingly to understand or help us keep him on track when his behavior becomes out of control. Me and his dad have found out the sports are playing a key role in him becoming successful in school. He is on the football, baseball, and wrestling teams and he also play travel baseball. He is a strong, dominant athlete. My suggestion for parents are to have a parent meeting with teachers at the beginning of the school term to make them aware because most do not read the information you have to supply to them on your child’s permanent records.

      July 28, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • Mom - Bloom and grow our children

      Great job, really good to hear, my son has not been diagnosed with ADHD but when I look back at myself and my need to keep learning I realized that not only is my son ADHD but so am I.
      I have social worker background, got bored, did advertising and art, got bored, did accounting and marketing added municipal administration. Have finally determined I need a job that is forever changing. I have now been a Office Manager – Specialist, making the offices run at high volume with massive spreadsheet, accounting programs, data systems, I love it (I am now 45).
      As for my son, I request the schools put him in high split classes (he's going into gr 3 split with 4), the teachers now know him and give him the extra work, I have even had teachers set up journals and reading log in a special spot so he goes there when work is done. I keep him busy with sports, he is an excellent soccer and hockey player, he is a natural athlete, show him any sport and he will excel.
      All this I do for my son is because he is brillant, I fight every step to help him whenever it is needed. The time I have put into the school system, sports, etc. is all worth it.
      Just to add more, my daughter is the same except she excels in drama and arts, I do the same for her because of me.
      I think that if teachers/councilors/coaches all read about ADHD they would see that it is understandable, don't box children in, let me bloom and grown.
      Mystery Man, heads up, you will later in life see the same things in your children, breath, relax and fight for their individual rights, as a Mom to date it has been alot of work but well worth it. Good luck in the future.

      July 29, 2010 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Christopher's mom

      I commend you on your success. My son too was diagnosed with ADD no hyperactivity when he was in Kindergarten. He wouldn't put the puzzles away after "quiet" time because he was so engrossed in them. He also got into trouble but for not doing what they asked not for being disruptive. In fourth grade he was diagnosed with a learning disability. He spent most of the rest of his school career bored out of his flippin' skull. They never had interesting enough classes for him or the ones that did wanted perfect assignment writing. He could tell you the answers verbally but ask him to write them down and it was a no go. He just graduated this past June. I am hoping college will allow him to find a passion and be able to make something of himself. I fought the schools for the past 12 years and I don't intend to stop fighting until he has a job where he can be who he is–a brillant kind capable man who has a heart of gold.

      July 29, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
  9. jmac

    Bogart, i have had adhd since i was is second grade, and you know what the majority of us arwe smarter than most (as you can see from A's list). I served in the military for 5 years and was often given more responsibility then my peers because i had a determination and perfectionist personality wich meant when i do something it got done right

    July 28, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KP

      Three misspelled words in two sentences, a fallacious conclusion drawn from a ridiculous list based nearly entirely on speculation, and a job that a highschool dropout can do. People with ADHD are clearly smarter than the rest of us.

      July 28, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      JMAC, thank you for your service! As a parent of an ADHD college student, I used my experience in the military to help with the basic structure in my household. The military structure, chain of command and rules and regulations are there for you as a personal guide BUT it is YOUR internal motivation and hard work that makes you succeed. Good job!!

      July 28, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    I wonder when they are going to have some sort of physiological test for "conduct disorders" or any other type of real biological test for any number of these DSM type of "disorders". Sorry, but I consider psychology like I consider astrology.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sue

    More like many kids/teenagers use ADHD as the easiest excuse to slink out of school/college..........

    July 28, 2010 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mystery Man

      Here is my issue with Dave, he says don't blame your problem on something that doesn't exist. That shows me you have very little understanding and prespectative on this issue. How can you say that, when doctors, teachers, and parents all tell these children that they are at a disadvantage because of it. And then turn around and tell that same child or adult shut up, quite complaining, and that it doesn't exist. Weather it does or doesn't it almost mote point, because if your told something long enough by people who are supposed to be the authority in your life, you will believe it. You over simplfy a very complex issue. Don't tell someone who been told somethings wrong with them (though I agree in principal that theres nothing wrong) that they need to get over it, instead tell the dumb teachers, parents, and doctors to quit saying is a diease and they are less. You seem like someone who takes the easy way, and instead of understanding your prefer to tell em' to shut up and get over it. You and that logic are the problem.....

      July 28, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  12. Mystery Man

    I don't believe in "special classes" because that creates stigmas. look this should be competative, we live in a captialistic nation. I'm telling you, if you were to make the school system kinda like college were you have to have x amount of hours and x classes to graduate to the next grade, then you computerize it, and not structure in timeframes, but instead allow the kids to go at there own pace. You'll find these ADD, ADHD, and Aspergers, whatever, they would learn this stuff, and after they learn it theyll become creative and take it to another level. But you can't do that, because in our culture, we like to find everything wrong with someone and we use that against them to advance ourselves. As long as you have special classes, special needs, (I'm not talking special ed) then people judge, if your being judged, then it brings down your confidence. I mean why try to impress the teacher when she seems annoyed by you because your high mainteance. Is it the kids fault for excelling, or the teacher for needing to teach everything the same way, and throwing everyone who does't fit in with the herd mentatilty and putting them on meds and saying we need "special classes". No you don't, you need to open your eyes and use the brain god gave you and understand, everything and everyone is different, and to truly teach, you MUST truly understand the individual your teaching. Otherwise your ruining a life.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Faye

      How about very different schools instead of robot factories? I favor the idea that students should rotate through different settings until they find what works for them. Every school should be set up as a specialized school with different styles and emphases. My son was absolutely brilliant and committed suicide as a result of teacher bullying – he was a well-behaved kid who tried his hardest to meet everyone's expectations and make the world a happier place, but just couldn't put up with the crap any longer. ADHD and the way schools deal with it IS a crisis.

      July 28, 2010 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      In 12 years of public schools, my son attended 6 different public schools, 2 of which were charter schools. We used the school until it no longer suited our needs, then we moved to the next school. I think it is sad that we had to keep changing schools because of such an inconsistency in teaching beliefs. If we found a science class that the teacher understood ADHD, my son excelled however, if we found a Science class where the teacher did not understand ADHD, my son failed. Little things helped my son succeed, like writing class instructions and homework on the board and not going off off topic during lecture time and telling stories that did not pertain to the material. We would have to ask for special accomodations for what should be common courtesy to all students. If we were asking more than one or two teachers for these "accomodations", then it was time to move on to another school.

      July 28, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    I am a 25 year old adult male with ADHD. I had a lot of trouble paying attention growing up, and I was usually goofy and usually the social outcast, starting around age 15 when my best friend moved away (he was just like me). Anyway, I just cannot stand to sit still; I have to be doing something. Even if I am at work, if I am not doing something, I will find things to do (which is probably why I can get so much done).

    My doctor recently re-ran the IQ test and said that while I exhibit a very high intelligence, I have attention problems. For instance, part of the test asks you to take two numbers, add them up, and then add that to the next number that is said, so on and so forth. I ended up doing so-so on that one, but on the visual perception tests - such as how many squares can be made with the following figures - I did fine.

    Despite this though I graduated college in 5 years with a bachelor's in IT and got a very nice job immediately after, which I am still doing for over two years now.

    My typical day is 8-5 job, after that I usually have things to do for a couple hours or go out, eat dinner, etc and before I know it is 10 pm already. In other words, I am usually not sitting around for a long period of time.

    July 28, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      You don't have ADHD because it doesn't exist. You had a short attention span like EVERY other kid and adult for that matter. Don't blame a nonexistant disorder for your problems growing up.

      July 28, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      Mike, in this world there are a number of disorders that people such as Tom Cruise and Dave do not "believe" exist. Please disregard their comments and feel sorry for them, as their disorder of idiocy is not recognized by the AMA and sadly untreatable and likely terminal.

      July 28, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  14. The_Mick

    While ADHD is real – my nephew's school work inproved dramatically after he was placed ADHD meds – 75% of those diagnosed with ADHD are MIS-diagnosed and don't really have it. My guess is that many of them and the non-treated ADHD kids are the bulk of the dropouts.

    July 28, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dave

    There is NO such thing as ADHD! What kid or adult doesn't have a short attention span. EVERYONE has a short attention span, especially kids. Some more than others. Everyone is jumping on this ADHD bandwagon. It's the new disorder of the day. Stop medicating our kids for something that doesn't exist.

    July 28, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emma

      I hope you don't have children . . . or a wife . . . or pets . . .Gain some compassion. May you never need to resort to medication for anything that others deem unnecessary. You may just end up a hypocrite.

      July 28, 2010 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      You have no idea what you are talking about... also do not ASSume because someone has an ADHD diagnosis that they are medicated.

      July 28, 2010 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
    • Been There

      It's real alright and I invite you to spend a day with my son and you'll agree that ADHD is alive and well!

      July 29, 2010 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  16. Brian

    I am 21 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD at around 4 or 5. In the beginning I was put on Ritalin and later some other types of medicine. The Ritalin worked when it was in the beginning hours of taking it, but as it wore off I would become aggressive resulting in fights every afternoon around 4 to 5 with my parents. They said it was like clockwork the way the drug was effecting me. Eventually my parents decided to take me off all medication and let me work through it on my own and in turn I have learned to live with it and control myself. I did not graduate H.S. with my class I missed 96 days of school my Sr. year in H.S. and was denied the right to walk. I had to fill out a summer packet test which I got a 96% on and then I was able to go to the school and pick up my Diploma and cap. With school if I am not interested in it I have no attention and become bored, but if I have a passion for what I am learning I take it all in and succeed with flying colors. The way the teacher teachers also has an immense impact on the way I learn I am a hands on person and must be shown how to do something, if you give me a book and say read chapters 1-5 and then take a test on it most likely I will fail. But if shown the same subject material and taught it by an educator I can succeed.

    In regards to them saying ADHD can cause overactivness I would say I have to agree, I work fulltime 830-5 mon-fri. Mon-Thursday from 530-645 I volunteer at a local ymca coaching kids in different sports (soccer,baseball, basketball) and then workout from 7-8. I just discovered yoga this past monday and am most likely throwing that in the schedule a couple days of week because that just leaves my body,mind and soul feeling amazing, honestly the most relaxed feeling I have ever had and no I am not gay. Then afterwards I might play some basketball (always the best hustler running up and down the court endlessly) I have been doing this for the past year and I enjoy it, I wouldn't change having ADHD because with all the negative effects I feel the positive effects balance it out. I have learned to control myself if I have to pay attention when I don't want to I do anyways and I am not taking any medication and never will again for it. I don't think I would have the energy to do everything I do without it. In turn you can do anything in life as long as you push yourself and set your goals high.

    July 28, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nicki

      Well said Brian!

      July 28, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • odubhain

      I think you have found your truth in living as you do. That's all anyone can do and you have done a wonderful job of it on your own. It would be great if others, parents included could embrace this approach to ADHD and other potential distractions in personailty and nature. We all have to deal with something to achieve success in life and you have done well.

      Slán Leat

      July 30, 2010 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  17. Frank

    I must agree with you Dave 90%. I took 3 years of psychology and eventually changed majors because it was becoming too subjective. I was waiting for the neurobiological aspect of the courses but they were only in the "medical" field and not in the psychological field. Perhaps it is because there is no physiological way of measuring things like "low seratonin" or "insert disorder here". However there are behavioral aspects that can be linked to motor degeneration of the brain (ie. Alzheimers) that is able to be measured by valid scientific methods. The rest of these disorders are made up. I dare anyone to read the DSM-IV and not find a "disorder" they do not sucumb to. My recommendation for parents is get your kid off the sugars, off the fast food and onto the playground; couple that with vitamins and you will see wonders. For those who do feel the need to be medicated please read as much as you can and remember your doctor does not know everything.

    July 28, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Frank: Thank You. Finally someone with common sense and someone who understands the issue....or nonissue, really. Some kids and I know a few adults are naturally "hyper" or active. That is NORMAL folks for a very large percentage of our species. It's our biological makeup. Animals have very short attention spans just like people.......because we are primates ourselves which are animals. ADHD is a complete made up disorder. It had no basis in fact and their is no concrete diagnosis, it's all subjective. Everyone wants to blame something for their behavior. Educate yourselves.

      July 28, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
  18. Owen

    For an ADHD kid, school just gets in the way of education.

    July 28, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      too true

      July 28, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      PERFECT way to sum it all up!!

      July 28, 2010 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  19. common123

    I am younger and have ADD / ADHD and went through high school. In High School i was a popular kid who was varsity wrestler all four years, but i had ADD / ADHD and it was very hard to attend class I missed over 160 days in 4 years of high school and graduated with around a 2.0 GPA. My thoughts in high school were "I don't need to do this stuff a high school diploma is a joke." I could never concentrate on anything... I would come to class and expect to talk about science, history, math problems used in the world, and writing essays. I've always enjoyed learning about anything and everything as I have ADHD and most ADHD people have interest in a lot of subjects, but in high school it was never like that we would never get to that actual subject I believe most high schools stay off track and don't constantly do things. My whole high school career I would know the days to go to school and the days not to go because some of the days were just a waste of time. Then I went to a community college after high school and in two years i have 55 credits after reading this article I have realized I have taken no general electives, humanties(intro to film and art etc...) I have all my required classes complete I feel like i have succeeded this year I have a 3.7 GPA. I am now going to be a transfer student to a large university double majoring in accounting / finance so I can put off taking the useless classes that mean nothing to me. Might be a useless read but someone said many schools don't stay on track.

    July 28, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • common123

      Another thing I think many people label ADHD kids dumb... Do you ever think that the person is naturally dumb and acts out to get attention because they are dumb ? I think ADD / ADHD is given out very fast these days. You parents out there label you're children ADD / ADHD and give up on them don't expect what you would if they didn't have ADD / ADHD. I have heard many parents of friends praise me for my intelligence and ask me how I know so much about doing their taxes, giving them advice on finances, setting up their computer networks, fixing minor things on their cars, and knowing a lot about a lot and I've heard a lot of them think lower of nephews, nieces, and grand children for having ADD / ADHD. Everyone in America these days look for a reason why for every event, sickness, and all problems. The problem is when you're sick or have a problem you're given a "cushion" in life people expect less of you unless you're terminally ill I believe everyone should be pushed the same and pushed harder for where the individual struggles. My mom has ADD / ADHD has 4 master degrees, My brother has ADD / ADHD has his master at 23. I don't believe ADD / ADHD gives any limitations on progressing you're eduction.

      July 28, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  20. common123

    ps: I learned more at home on the computer then I think I did in all of high school.

    July 28, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      i learned more watching animal planet then i did all of h.s. lol

      July 28, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      That's the key, to find the way you learn best and go for it!

      July 28, 2010 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  21. Nicki

    Children with ADHD are often very intelligent and creative. Just because they learn differently than a "normal" (boring)student doesn't mean they have to fail. I am a mother of an ADHD 18-year old who graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA and 38 college credits. He is enrolled in a University and works a full time job and is a paid actor in a part time job as well as volunteering in our community. He has not been medicated since 9th grade, much to the dismay of some of his teachers over the years.

    Now to get here, it was a LOT of work for dad and I. It was not easy and our son knows he still needs our support for college. He was expelled in High School, because like many children with AND without ADHD, he said something without thinking first. The school that expelled him, eventually got in trouble for mistreatment of students that did not fit their "ideal student mold".

    So parents, the point in my post is, do not give up on a child with a diagnosis of ADHD because of studies such as the one in this article. Where did they collect their data? Special Education students in public schools?? Not all students with ADHD qualify for Special Ed services, so I am sure there are many successful ADHD students that were overlooked. Read everything you can, seek advice from professionals such as pediatric neurologists and pediatric psychologists and most of all, listen to your child. Build a relationship of trust with your child and speak to them honestly about their condition and their strengths and weaknesses. In the end, there is no teacher, doctor or social worker that knows your child and can help your child more than you, their parent. DO NOT GIVE UP!!

    July 28, 2010 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mystery Man

    amen

    July 28, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Jaclyn

    Nicki: my only objection to your comment is your classification of other students as "boring". For somebody who wishes their son to be accepted for who he is, and not labelled because of ADHD, I find that hypocritical as you are now boxing all of the other students into labels just like others may do to those with ADHD. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly agree with your post and applaud the determination of both you and your son.

    I think that when an ADHD child also has a high IQ, that can just make things more difficult in the classroom because they are not being challenged and consequently get bored. Sadly, this leads to smart kids doing badly in school because the education system is only set up for one learning type and pace.

    July 28, 2010 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KC

      I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and my parents refused to medicate me. I finished high-school and am 6 classes away from a Masters Degree in Teaching. I two bachelors' degrees and almost enough credits in college to be an RN, English Teacher, Journalist, and PE coach. However, when I turned 27, I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Bi-Polar II disorder, and I am currently being treated for that disorder instead. Many children are "pegged" with ADHD at an early age by inexperienced doctors who don't research the issues deep enough and scrutinize the symptoms that the children are experiencing. Because Bi-Polar II disorder mimics ADHD, this happens very often, and with a stimulant of Ritlin and other medications often prescribed by doctors, the crash effect after the meds wear off are extreme and uncontrollable. Resulting in depression, anxiety, irratibility, and sometimes aggression. Yes, being able to concentrate is very difficult because I have a constant need to be stimulated and challenged. This can result in loss of interest in jobs and result in a less than desirable work ethic and moving from job to job in order to fin my "niche" so to say.

      I now have a son that will be turning 3 next month, and his actions are very similar to a child with ADHD...however, he has not been diagnosed, and we are not sure if that is the condition that he truly has. I have already had to move him from one daycare class to another in order to give him more structure and have more stimulation and challenge. It is evident that we will have a long road ahead, because as a teacher in training, there are not enough teachers with the tools to accomadate these children, and college classes cannot prepare you for these children's actions or those of their parents.

      July 29, 2010 at 07:57 | Report abuse |
  24. KC

    I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and my parents refused to medicate me. I finished high-school and am 6 classes away from a Masters Degree in Teaching. I have two bachelors' degrees in human resources and business management and almost enough credits in college to be an RN, English Teacher, Journalist, and PE coach. However, when I turned 27, I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Bi-Polar II disorder, and I am currently being treated for that disorder instead. Many children are "pegged" with ADHD at an early age by inexperienced doctors who don't research the issues deep enough and scrutinize the symptoms that the children are experiencing. Because Bi-Polar II disorder mimics ADHD, this happens very often, and with a stimulant of Ritlin and other medications often prescribed by doctors, the crash effect after the meds wear off are extreme and uncontrollable. Resulting in depression, anxiety, irratibility, and sometimes aggression. Yes, being able to concentrate is very difficult because I have a constant need to be stimulated and challenged. This can result in loss of interest in jobs and result in a less than desirable work ethic and moving from job to job in order to fin my "niche" so to say.

    I now have a son that will be turning 3 next month, and his actions are very similar to a child with ADHD...however, he has not been diagnosed, and we are not sure if that is the condition that he truly has. I have already had to move him from one daycare class to another in order to give him more structure and have more stimulation and challenge. It is evident that we will have a long road ahead, because as a teacher in training, there are not enough teachers with the tools to accomadate these children, and college classes cannot prepare you for these children's actions or those of their parents

    July 29, 2010 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. MotivatedToHelp

    I have a teen son who has ADHD and he is 14, he has all the classic symptoms, but we do not rush his development. We have 3 kids and they all are home schooled. I think he will make it because we are allowing him to work at his own pace. Yes we do make some demands on him but we allow him to enjoy school and school work, which is difficult to do sometimes. We are a part of a home school association that meets regularly and he gets to play with his friends.
    Right know he is at about 9th grade level. Reading is more difficult and writing is slow but cognitively he is a brain. A wiz at math, and problem solving, excellent memory, and obedient. He does math and language and bible almost exclusively. We allow him to do other things but ultimately they all come down to having him master reading, writing and high school English and reading.
    We have never tried him on any drugs and probably never will. In his early stages between 3 and 5 he masked it well. He could read site words, was disruptive but not crazy problematic. He could not identify the letters of the alphabet but eventually we found out and had him tested. All of that went on during k3-k5, in grade 1 we took him out and changed his diet to vegan, and dramatically reduced his TV time and sugar and refinded foods intake. It has worked for us, the behavioral problems are minimal and his concentration and motor skills are good.
    My advice to any parent or person living with ADHD is, do not give up, you can do anything. Time helps, it is not a permanent disorder for every child, but those who do not grow out of it or who have other underlying problems should be very careful not to ignore the problems and seek competent professional help and do what you can as a parent to support the process.
    Also, do not negate what prayer can do to help your child. We sometimes depend on science too much and ignore the one who made us.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. larkwoodgirl

    I am the mother of a child with ADHD. I am also a school teacher. I get to see the problem from both sides. I absolutely agree with the person who said raising a child with ADHD was like "raising five children in one." As a teacher, I have found that working with ADHD children individually or in very small group settings is the most effective due to the minimization of distractions. Also, reducing verbal teaching strategies and moving to more visual and kinesthetic strategies is also a big help.

    As a parent, having your ADHD child get enough sleep each night is absolutely necessary. Lack of sleep exacerbates hyperactive behavior. Routines are also a huge help, as are avoiding sugar and planning ahead to minimize stresses in daily routines helps avoid increases in adrenalin production. Also, do not make excuses for your child. Even though they have "issues", they still need to understand that they are responsible for their actions. If you are constantly enabling poor behavior by not holding your ADHD child accountable for their behavior in a classroom, at home, or anywhere else – you are making matters worse for your child, yourself and the classroom teacher.

    Finally, I noticed that the nature of my child's ADHD changed as he got older. He became less physically hyperactive, but more emotionally hyperactive. It was very difficult to understand the change, but it was also necessary to adjust my strategies at this point. This is the point where you need to be absolutely in tune with what is going on with your child. Pay attention. Self medicating behavior is common in teenagers with ADHD. If this behavior occurs, you need to seek help from your pediatrician or other health care professionals before the problem spirals out of control.

    These are complex problems. Students with ADHD are not the only students in a classroom with special needs. A good teacher tries to accommodate all learning issues in a classroom. However, teachers are not psychiatrists, they cannot fix a child's problems or make them go away for a few hours each day. That expectation is completely unrealistic. I do what I can to help every child function at a successful level in my classroom. That is all I can do.

    July 29, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom - Bloom and grow our children

      Wow, it is as if you are living my life.............
      Have you looked back at yourself and/or partners history.........I have and I am sure I am ADHD, genetics???

      TO ALL ADHD's – KEEP BUSY, KEEP ROUTINE, GET REST AND SLEEP – your not alone

      July 29, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • MotivatedToHelp

      I appreciate your comments, every thing you said I can associate with.

      August 5, 2010 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
  27. Mom - Bloom and grow our children

    Mom – Bloom and grow our children

    Great job, really good to hear, my son has not been diagnosed with ADHD but when I look back at myself and my need to keep learning I realized that not only is my son ADHD but so am I.
    I have social worker background, got bored, did advertising and art, got bored, did accounting and marketing added municipal administration. Have finally determined I need a job that is forever changing. I have now been a Office Manager – Specialist, making the offices run at high volume with massive spreadsheet, accounting programs, data systems, I love it (I am now 45).
    As for my son, I request the schools put him in high split classes (he's going into gr 3 split with 4), the teachers now know him and give him the extra work, I have even had teachers set up journals and reading log in a special spot so he goes there when work is done. I keep him busy with sports, he is an excellent soccer and hockey player, he is a natural athlete, show him any sport and he will excel.
    All this I do for my son is because he is brillant, I fight every step to help him whenever it is needed. The time I have put into the school system, sports, etc. is all worth it.
    Just to add more, my daughter is the same except she excels in drama and arts, I do the same for her because of me.
    I think that if teachers/councilors/coaches all read about ADHD they would see that it is understandable, don't box children in, let me bloom and grown.
    Mystery Man, heads up, you will later in life see the same things in your children, breath, relax and fight for their individual rights, as a Mom to date it has been alot of work but well worth it. Good luck in the future.

    July 29, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • larkwoodgirl

      I am happ to see that you are involved in your child's education.

      If you are a parent and have a special needs child in the public school system, it is absolutely necessary to advocate for you child within the system. Do not be afraid to do so. Be proactive. Your child's teachers can be a significant ally for you if you do the communicating that is necessary.

      Build a cooperative relationship with your child's teachers instead of an adversarial one. At the beginning of school, meet with your child's teachers. Make them aware of any issues or special circumstances that can affect your child in the classroom. Raise their awareness level. They will appreciate your assistance and your involvement and will be inclined to contact you if they notice any changes as well. Stay in contact via email or check teacher websites to stay on top of your childs assignments and classroom activities.

      If you see a change in your child's behavior, or notice something different that could possibly affect him at school, let them know immediately.

      As a teacher I appreciate it when parents are concerned enough about their child to check on them. I also appreciate a parent who is willing to work with me to support their child in the classroom. This relationship is critical. It also sends a message to the child.

      What is not helpful is for a parent to call me on the phone to yell and scream at me for some perceived transgression. I understand their frustraton. However, I do not appreciate inappropriate tirades.

      July 29, 2010 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  28. odubhain

    I have Pays Attention Closely Syndrome (PACS). I'd like for all us PACS to receive equal time, money and attention to what is spent on ADHD people. After all, we deal with the same reality and work as the ADHD folks by disciplining ourselves and controlling our impulses. I think such achievements should be rewarded. Cash payments will be appreciated in lieu of therapy, special programs and counseling. when the ADHD folks are ability to successfully channel their energies into their work, I think they should starting receiving a little cash too. Pretty soon, the economy will have recovered and even teachers, counselors and therapists will be jumping on the doing productive things band-wagon.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. odubhain

    I am America (and so can you). Oh well ability SB "able" but what the hay?

    July 30, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Alone

    Wow, people on here can be really mean. I have ADD, I'm only a teenager, and it's really hard for me sometimes when people joke about this stuff. My friends don't even know yet, but it really hurts when they joke about people with ADD/ADHD, but there's nothing I can say because I know they would assume I'm "dumb" or "slow." Some of the smartest people in history had ADD/ADHD...People can be so ignorant. It's not a joke, it's really hard to deal with. I get bad grades because I go to a private school for very advanced students...everybody assumes I don't care about my bad grades because that's the attitude I show them. In reality I try very hard, it just never pays off.
    So people out there insisting ADD/ADHD people are a pain, watch what comes out of your mouth. It could really hurt somebody. But then, I guess you wouldn't care.

    August 20, 2010 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Deb

    I am a mom to a 13 year old son who has ADHD/ organizational problems and distractability. In 2007 AEA evaluated him after his 3rd grade teacher told us she thought he should be tested. AEA forund classic ADHD symptoms and asked that we have him evaluated by a Psychologist. I did as they recommended and a report was sent to his school. When received it went right into his file and no one from the school followed up on it. In 2009 I asked for my son to have a 504 Plan written for him and he was denied. He hates school and is now in the 7th grade and is testing two to three years behind in every subject except reading. In the 504 meeting the principal stated he was nothing more than LAZY. I have attended every parent teacher conference, emailed, called and fought this school since my son was in the 3rd grade to give him extra help and I have been ignored. Now this year the 7th grade teacher emailed me and asked if his organizational problems are new and that he doesn't even know his math facts! I never ever heard that once from his elementary teachers. I asked this year to open enroll my kids to another school due to my son also being assualted physically in just the first month of school and because I didn't fill out the open enroll ment forms by the districts due date they denied our request for open enrollment. I filed a grienvance against the school and I also filed a civil complaint agains the school for my son on grounds of disability and race because we are the minority at our school and low income. I asked at our meetings these questions, "Who's responsibility was it at the school to follow up on my son's evaluation?" "How are we going to get him caught up, now that he is two-three years behind academically?" "And if it was their child what would they do?" My son was labeled as LAZY..and now he suffers because the Administration, AEA didn't do their jobs...as a parent I did mine but was ignored and now Administration wants to lay the blame on the teachers! And I am not letting them..I have been very verbal through all of this. In 2011 I am taking all 5 of my kids to another school...

    November 15, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Josie

    WOW it is amazing that there are schools out there who do not advocate for these children. Deb I am really sorry to hear of your problem. My prayers go to you.
    I am the mother of a 15 year old son who started high school this year. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I was right. The school system he is in is amazing. I don't know what I would do if I had to be victimized along with my son by a school system like Debs. My son has had his medication adjusted 2x's this year and I am hoping we have finally found the right medication. Before high school and before puberty the meds he was on worked well.
    He also has experienced a nasty divorce between his parents and that took everything into a different direction and has made it difficult on top of the ADHD. We have an excellent therapist and she has helped us.
    But with all the help we have had I still struggle everyday just to get him to do his homework and be involved in his school work, I don't want him to be one of the children who drops out and gives up. I was told that having a child with ADHD is a project in process. My project is to have my son be successful with his life. Thank you to all of you who realize how much we need to learn about this and all the different methods that help us in helping our children.

    November 23, 2010 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. patrick

    People that are droping out should not be. Dont give up hope you wont get anywhere if you drop out. Maybe Mic Donalds, but thats not where you want to spend your life.

    September 22, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
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    February 4, 2012 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. cynthia curran

    Well, most ADHD are not the greatest in intelligent many have trouble with working memory or some parts of IQ tests that deal with visual interpretation. I'm one of those people. ADHD people can range from mildly retarded and slow learners to geniuses like other people. In fact I learn to read and write late and was in Special Ed until 7th grade but a 7th grade history course got be interested in the late Roman Republic and at age 13 I knew historical figures like Sulla and Marius. Marius is the uncle by married of Julius Caesar. I finished high school and did community college but took longer to finished community college since my writing skills were behind my peers. I've had mediocre paying jobs and left home late in life. So, the ADHD does make it hard particularly if you were born in the 1950's when the disorder was being recognized.

    November 5, 2013 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply

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