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Children diagnosed with ADHD 'may simply be immature for their class'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by FrankWolley, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    And/or just badly behaved?

    Many children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may simply be immature compared to their school classmates, a new study suggests.

    Researchers examined medical records of nearly 400,000 children aged from four to 17 in Taiwan and found rates of the condition changed significantly depending on the month when they were born, The Daily Telegraph reported.

    Just 2.8 per cent of boys and 0.7 per cent of girls born in September were diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 4.5 per cent of boys and 1.2 per cent of girls born in August.

    Dr Mu-Hong Chen, a psychologist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan and lead author of a paper about the research in the Journal of Pediatrics, said: “When looking at the database as a whole, children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    That's a plausible hypothesis for some.
    I see ADHD as a description rather than as a condition - we have to find ways to work with the condition. I know a number of adults with short attention spans.
    janemk and JL48 like this.
  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    That makes sense, especially as most 'diagnosed' with ADHD are boys and they are already known to mature more slowly than girls.
    My daughter ( who was very premature and would have been in the following school year had I gone to term) came home from school after a few weeks in Reception and asked me why boys were so silly and naughty.

    People also understand different things from an ADHD label for their children and some attach the label themselves. There was an article in my local paper about a boy in court for anti-social behaviour. His mother claimed, in mitigation, that he had ADHD. Her reasoning for his undiagnosed condition was that she was too busy to give him much attention and he thus had an Attention Deficit!

    I'm always struck by how many of those with a supposed inability to concentrate can spend so much time quietly occupied on hand-held devices.
    lanokia, guinnesspuss and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    Conrad and Bergey (2014: 39) 'The impending globalization of ADHD'
    - points of resistance
    In countries where the ICD remains the diagnostic touchstone , fewer people are likely to be diagnosed and treated as having ADHD. ... When only specialists can diagnose and treat ADHD, fewer people are likely to be diagnosed. In the UK only some of the numerous drugs used to treat ADHD are available. Some countries, like Italy, there remains a cultural skepticism toward treating behavioural problems with psychoactive drugs.
  5. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Is certainly how it was seen before the labels and inclusion. Bottom set and all that.
  6. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    In a thread on here some months back there was a link to a report which was discussing a centre for children who'd been removed from mainstream owing to behaviour problems. The centre used more 'traditional' teaching methods, strong discipline and a mix of teacher led and quiet, individual work.

    There was a quote from one of the boys at the centre who came with the ADHD diagnosis. he said he found it much easier to study there and to behave properly because there were fewer distractions and words to the effect of 'they could work quietly and weren't always changing activity'.

    It made me wonder how much our bouncy, entertainment style of teaching has contributed to the explosion in diagnoses of adhd and other behavioural problems.
  7. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    That's an interesting observation and I wonder if it supports that idea that adhd children work best when settled on one quiet activity at a time.......
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Some of them will spend hours sitting quietly on a cold river bank waiting for a fish to bite.
    wanet likes this.
  9. cassandramark2

    cassandramark2 Lead commenter

    Having taught for many years, I have only encountered 2 pupils for whom the diagnosis of ADHD seemed correct, i.e. with appropriate medication, they were able to concentrate, learn and, essentially, enjoy fulfilling relationships within a mainstream school setting. The rest (IMO) were products of misguided or poor parenting/somewhere on the ASD spectrum/having an attachment disorder.
  10. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Some parents want to have the diagnosis of ADHD to excuse their poor parenting. Harsh but true. Teachers often shy away from saying that there are some awful parents out there.

    I too have only come across only a couple of cases where the diagnosis was correct. Even then it might be a reason for poor behaviour but not an excuse.
  11. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    A significant number of parents who are living on state benefits want a special needs diagnosis as it means a large amount of money is given for that child.
    Compassman likes this.
  12. cassandramark2

    cassandramark2 Lead commenter

    Yes it does. I've no doubt that many of you have been asked to fill in the 'Connors' green form checklist.
    Compassman likes this.
  13. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Yes. These children asre the ones most likely to find it difficult to deal with bouncy teachers, group activities, moving around the classroom stuff. We are causing the problem.

    I'm in a school where there is a huge push to get away from teacher led or quiet work. Children should be discussing, children should be using their ipads for research, children should be photographing and tweeting (yes, and tweeting!) what they're doing and making videos to record their learning.

    And after Easter, in Autism awareness week, we're going to look at learning strategies to help autistic children to follow in class.

    I feel like screaming.
    cissy3 likes this.
  14. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    I know that he has fallen out of favour a bit, but I still largely agree with him on this one:

    cissy3 likes this.
  15. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Thanks for that,JL48. Loved it!
    JL48 likes this.
  16. -Maximilian-

    -Maximilian- New commenter

    I think ADHD is quite misunderstood by teachers. CPD is generally poor and unless you experience what it is like living with a child with an ADHD diagnosis, then it's easy to blame the parents and bad parenting or simply put it all down to bad behaviour. My child was diagnosed in his mid-teens. We had few problems in primary school, but we started to notice a drop in grades for attitude and behaviour at secondary school, which got steadily worse. My child's behaviour become more strange and challenging at home and things deteriorated as my child's self-esteem dropped rapidly, resulting in depression. Eventually, after six months of visits to CAMHS, my child was diagnosed with ADHD. A part of the brain does not function in the same way as non-ADHD brains. It's the part that controls inhibitions and poor short term memory and attention span. Distractions around the room cause ADHD children to have "busy brains" - that's why for example an ADHD child can focus on a game in their room or fish on a lake - there are far fewer distractions to engage their brain! ADHD children have very poor organisation skills. Drugs can be prescribed, basically amphetamines, to ignite (speed up) that part of the brain, with the hope that this improves the child's concentration and makes them less prone to making rash decisions without thought of consequences (the inhibitive part). Older children can take the medication when they need it or miss it out at the weekend if they wish - it depends on what type the child is being prescribed - some have different time lengths, or work quickly or more uniformly throughout the day. Each child is different and ADHD is often accompanied with other issues as well - for example my child is dyslexic. However, ADHD is not an excuse for poor behaviour. You just have to accept that such students will not think about their actions and that they will not be able to conform the same as other students. What does help are firm rules and boundaries, warnings that any poor behaviour is wrong and needs to be stopped and the understanding that there will be a consequence if that aspect of poor behaviour continues. As a teacher, show little emotion and less talk is a strategy that can be employed with ADHD students - do not escalate arguments by shouting or over explaining - a firm no and say the rule that is being broken, repeated if necessary. Some studies show that ADHD children have a much younger maturity age. They often like to control situations too. Rewards for good behaviour are important too as self esteem in ADHD students is often very low - they tend to get 9 negative comments to every 1 positive. Many ADHD students are known to have great imaginations and creativity. Hope that helps a bit. I have a bit more empathy with ADHD students now in my lessons after listening to other parents and the issues that they have at home, and with the experiences of my child as well. Plus, in many cases it's not bad parenting - many parents have other children who are perfectly 'normal' and well behaved, although studies do show ADHD is genetic.
    Deirds likes this.
  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Thanks for that great explanation. It seems to suggest that old-style teaching was far more helpful for pupils by not constantly changing lesson activities. It would account for why the incidence of ADHD appears to be higher nowadays.
    lunarita likes this.
  18. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    At the risk of sounding like a flaming liberal, I do think that the world has changed since we were at school. The effects of technology on ADHD pupils have been well documented and discussed.
  19. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    An alternative approach... (not to be attempted if unqualified! Just for info)



    I agree with the theory (in my field) that there is often unconscious unresolved trauma involved, often on a very subtle level that you wouldn't necessarily be aware of or recognise as 'trauma', but the child's unconscious perceived it as such, and which manifests as the behaviour. As well as any more obvious circumstances which exacerbate it, of course. Either way it's constant emotional overwhelm, rather than kids being badly behaved because they want to be, a bit like being asked to concentrate when you're in the middle of a panic attack. You just can't do it.
  20. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I considered reporting this.

    Hopefully, in spite of some of your other remarks, this was an accidental juxtaposition. The idea that ASD is down to poor parenting has been discredited.

    As for ADHD, spend some time in a Special School when someone has forgotten to take their medicine.

    Yes, in the past we didn't see so many children with ADHD. On the other hand there were more special schools and ,going further back, for the lucky ASD kids they were deemed ineducable and parents told to keep their child at home/ send them to an institution.

    Infant mortality has fallen. Children survive who would not have done so in the past.

    The reduction in crime rate in the US and UK has partly been attributed to the treatment of people with ADHD.

    I agree there are issues with the modern educational environment. My response to children can't concentrate for more than 4 minutes these days is that they should be given practice.

    As for the remarks about people on benefits - I think some empathy should be injected into Teacher Training courses.

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