Monday, May 10, 2010

ADHD wasn't discovered yesterday

During one of Aspie teen's university studies he came across some confronting claims from a lecturer who stated that ADHD was a 'created label' rather than a recognised condition.
This was apparently seen as permission to the other students to vent their spleen at all the kids with ADHD who'd had the gall to cross their path; some claimed ADHD stood for Apparent Death of Hard Discipline, spouting recommendations for a length of garden hose or bamboo to sort the kids out instead of medication and therapy, with almost all of them stating there had never, ever been a kid with ADHD in their class/school when they were kids.
Others claimed it was an alternative form of controlling students in the age of not using the cane, others still stated they believed it was lazy parents unwilling to teach children social boundaries while another claimed it was older parents lacking the energy to stick to routines and discipline. Still another suggested the label had been invented to absolve the teacher and education system of any responsibility when children didn't conform to the accepted rules of the classroom.
Who knew so many people could turn rabid at the mention of a medically diagnosed and recognised condition?!
These were people who were possibly going to become teachers.
Amazingly the lecturer stated ADHD hadn't existed 50 years ago which many tended to believe and agree with.
Yet the behaviour was noted as far back as 1848 (possibly even earlier in 1798) and given further medical details and diagnosis from 1902 onwards.
Yet some in the education system insist on treating those with ASD, ADHD and other medically diagnosed and recognised learning disorders as nothing more than a stubborn child who refuses to do as he/she is told.
And it's little wonder when that belief was encouraged by one lecturer, at least.
Ironically, they are very inattentive to a condition that commonly causes inattention.
Perhaps there's a few more adults who are undiagnosed....?

Further information on ADHD history HERE.
"Is it Severe ADHD or is it Asperger's" summary HERE.
Asperger Syndrome and ADHD HERE.
Language Disorders and ADHD HERE.
DSM-IV criteria for ADHD HERE.
DSM-IV criteria for Asperger's Disorder HERE.
Oldest known history of ADHD HERE.


Lisa said...

"with almost all of them stating there had never, ever been a kid with ADHD in their class/school when they were kids."

Of course there weren't.

All the ADHD kids were either up the back wearing a dunces cap, in the office being caned, or they'd already been expelled.

Or maybe, they were of the era where if you didn't pass your 11+ exam (refer above paragraph for possible reasons why), you left school and found a job.

Loved the 18th century ADHD reference!

Ro said...

Yep, Lisa, or they'd transferred to the tech school to learn a trade.

Mistress B said...

I was telling some of my uni friends about this the other night - they were gobsmacked!

Though one who has been at it longer than me said he was not in the least surprised that the uni was doing it's best to ignore the situation.

One of my brothers was hounded out of school because of his ADHD. The deputy principal told him to leave when he turned 14 or he'd find a way to expel him. If there is any laziness or stubbornness involved it is in the inflexible intolerance of wilfully ignorant educators.

Jodi said...

I remember a kid who definitely had ADHD when I was in primary school in the VERY early seventies...(his last name was Wigglesworth - totally suited him, too).

Ro said...

There seems to be a culture of disregarding trained medical professionals' diagnosis', B, when it doesn't suit them or the system.
Thankfully these are in the minority.

Yep, we had a couple at school in the late 70s who so obviously had ADHD but they skivved off to the local tech school where they shone as stars and went into trades (which used maths extensively).

Claire Marie said...

I'm a psychology major, and we've discussed ADHD in a lot of my classes... I don't think any of my professors have gone so far as to say it is merely a "created label."

I think many psychologists are starting to believe and point out, however, that it is over-diagnosed (At least in America, I can't really speak for anywhere else in the world), and that an incorrect diagnosis can be tragically harmful in a young child's life, and this, I feel pretty passionate about.

But I would never say that it doesn't exist, because it does, and it's not just an energetic, active kid. I am sorry to hear that people in a university setting could be so hurtful and careless with their comments.

And thanks for the information you posted, I'm looking forward to reading it. =)

Ro said...

Thanks, Claire :)
I agree it can be misdiagnosed and it seems Asperger's has been mistaken for ADHD at times but, yes, it does exist.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Thats really really shocking!
I react badly to these stupid mistakes health professionals keep making.
ADHD is VERY real . Pfft to them I say.

Valerie Foley said...

It's sickening really.

Yet another example of the moral high ground, matching the intellectual low ground... made all the more terrifying by it happening in a university setting.

Do we all have to be touched by this stuff before we understand it?

Well, the way dx rates are rising, it won't be long before that happens.


Anonymous said...

It's worse when there are doctors that believe the same thing...


Colin Wee said...

I just put a link to this post on my Top 10 list of posts talking about discipline. Check it out at

Ro said...

Thanks, Colin, discipline can be a challenge with our differently wired kids:)