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Oct 10

ADHD in the News

Posted by Valentine Burr in Fair Is Not Equal on Oct 10, 2012

There's a provocative article in the New York Times on using ADHD medication to help school performance, particularly for children in unresponsive school settings. It's a maddening article as it sensationalizes and over-simplifies a complex topic, but interesting for a few of the issues it raises. I was struck in particular by the attitude conveyed that schools and parents are on the look out for shortcuts to solve complex behavioral problems. It seems to mesh with the pervasive attitude these days that unsatisfactory teachers and eroding family values are to blame for the struggles kids have in schools. A larger look at context: the lack of mental heath services in schools and communities, pervasive unemployment and increased stress on communities, the lack of affordable healthcare, and the increasing difficulty families have in accessing early intervention services are essentially unaddressed.

The article also presents an either/or choice: “we modify the kid or we modify the environment,” undermining the argument that there might be safe and responsible uses of medication with children that work hand-in-hand with supporting changes at home and in schools. It’s easy to point fingers at the parents described here and think of them as “bad parents” making “bad choices” for their kids (see the comments section of the article online), it’s harder to engage with some of the complex questions and issues about children’s behaviors that underlie this article.

What are your thoughts?

tagged adhd, behavior, medication, news
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