Home > Uncategorized > ADHD, NCLB, RTTT: A Vicious Circle

ADHD, NCLB, RTTT: A Vicious Circle

November 1, 2014

Today’s NYTimes op ed page features an article by Richard Friedman titled “A Natural Fix for ADHD“. The “natural fix” Friedman prescribes is creating an environment in school that matches the reward system in place in the neural passages of ADHD students in much the same way that adults with ADHD find a workplace that meets their needs. Two paragraphs in Friedman’s essay jumped out at me:

You may wonder what accounts for the recent explosive increase in the rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its treatment through medication. The lifetime prevalence in children has increased to 11 percent in 2011 from 7.8 percent in 2003 — a whopping 41 percent increase — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 6.1 percent of young people were taking some A.D.H.D. medication in 2011, a 28 percent increase since 2007. Most alarmingly, more than 10,000 toddlers at ages 2 and 3 were found to be taking these drugs, far outside any established pediatric guidelines.

Some of the rising prevalence of A.D.H.D. is doubtless driven by the pharmaceutical industry, whose profitable drugs are the mainstay of treatment. Others blame burdensome levels of homework, but the data show otherwise. Studies consistently show that the number of hours of homework for high school students has remained steady for the past 30 years.

Friedman believes that the advent of digital technology is an underlying factor, and certainly neither I-phones or I-pads existed in 2003 and are prevalent today. But at the same time as digital technology and its distractions emerged, schools have become more regimented. Why? In 2003 NCLB was getting into full swing and by 2014 RTTT has taken NCLB’s emphasis on standardized testing to new levels. From my perspective, this vicious circle is far more damaging to ADHD children than digitization: if schools could individualize their instruction using digital technology to allow restless students to explore their areas of interest in a fashion that increased their reading comprehension skills instead of preparing them for a standardized test that requires a regimented lockstep curriculum that fits all students we might not find the need for children with ADHD to FOCUS. Expect to see more ADHD if we stay with our factory model… and expect more students to become dependent on Adderall and other drugs that improve “focus”….

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: