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Friday, May 24, 2013

Helping Kids with ADHD (Here and in France!): A Reader Challenges Marilyn Wedge


NOTE: On Tuesday, May 21, we posted an article by Dr. Marilyn Wedge entitled Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD (a very dubious proposition at best), along with a rebuttal by Dr. Stephanie Sarkis. Both originally appeared in the Scientific American blog "Suffer the Children." Our post was intended to stimulate discussion and seems to have served its purpose. We received a number of comments, including the following:

A Special Guest Post by Lucille Cannava
May 23, 2013

Thank goodness you included a rebuttal to (Dr. Marilyn) Wedge's misleading and potentially harmful claims.

The French have a long history of mistreating patients with mental disorders. While Americans can look back and see the same ignorance in our history, we are not still clinging to our old prejudices in the same way.

We decry the fact that psychiatrists in America rarely treat children anymore. It is much easier--and more lucrative--to see a parent and child for 15 - 20 minutes and write a prescription, rather than spending 50 minutes treating the child.

The American health care system is broken, and there is no way the (the medical, pharmaceutical and other) powerful lobbies will ever allow it to be fixed, as their profits are the highest in the world. It is most dreadful for people who cannot advocate for themselves: children and the elderly.

We have much to be ashamed of, but helping kids with ADHD is not one of them. The French way sounds like it is dangerously flirting with the age-old, "blame the mother" syndrome: the problem is in the home.

More appropriately, even a cursory glance at American classrooms will tell you that the problem may well be exacerbated by schools where distractions and sensory overload are the norm, and actual engagement with students is glossed over.

About Lucille Cannava

Currently a freelance journalist/editor and doctoral candidate in Educational Administration, Lucille Cannava has been a consultant, tutor, advocate and more recently, a special education administrator in a number of metropolitan-Boston public school districts.

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