Why I Don’t Believe Your Son Has ADHD

A friend, told me a story today that made me feel sad and angry. She has just returned from camping in the South of France with her family. On, the campsite they met a family from the Netherlands, who had an eight year old son. The boy was playful, funny and enjoyed nothing more than making my friend’s three year old son laugh.  The parents of the boy, told my friend that their son had been diagnosed as having ADHD and was on medication, but they only have to medicate him when he goes to school not in the holidays…WTF!?!  Yes, you read that right…..just in case you missed it, here it is again in bold…..

They ONLY have to medicate their son when he goes to SCHOOL.

Hmmm…anyone else making the same connection as me here?  I thought about my own son, who also happens to be eight, and realised if he was in the school system, he too, would be labelled with ADHD. What, I accept as normal boy behaviour:-

Not being able to keep still for longer than three minutes tops.

Making noises to go with every movement.

Climbing on everything (Including me).

Provoking the dog (Even though he has been warned a thousand times not too).

Provoking his older sister (even more dangerous than the dog!).

Talking non-stop.

Would earn him the label of ADHA or ADD or PQRSTFFFF, okay, I just made the last one up, but you get what I am saying.

Maybe, just maybe it is not the children who have the problem, but the educational system. A system, that expects eight year old boys (and girls) to sit for hours at desks quietly and when they don’t, they are told there is something wrong with them and given drugs to “Mute” them.  This is why, my son will NEVER, EVER go to school. I will not allow him to be made to feel ashamed of being who he is.  If, schools need to exist, and some people feel they do, then at least have the common sense to understand basic child development like the staff do at the famous Democratic Summerhill school. At Summerhill, children are allowed to play until they are ready to learn and it works; the children always come to learning in the end and they stay learning, because they choose to be there rather than, being forced to sit down and shut up before they are developmentally ready.

I don’t believe your son has ADHD, I don’t believe my son has ADHD, I believe they are children and that’s enough.

6 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Believe Your Son Has ADHD

  1. Great article. Just beware of dangerous black and white thinking (either way). Kids and adults have huge issues with ADHD/ADD. Some more than others, though. We have a long way to go research-wise.

    That said, I do like your thinking here! Over/under/mis-diagnosis is occurring to be sure.

    1. Thanks Jeff. I do agree with you that the issues are more complicated and my intention was not to diminish any parent’s experience of ADHA. I have worked with a few children (mostly boys) who have been labelled by the state school system as having ADHD and have found they are highly intelligent and creative individuals. Rather, than looking at the problems within the state school system, I believe it is more convenient for them to blame and label the child.

  2. Your description of your son made me smile as you could have been talking about my 7 yr old and I have no doubt that were he in school people would have been talking ADHD. Maybe he does have it to some degree but maybe he’s just a little boy who is bright, intelligent and a joy to be around but for whom the school system wouldn’t fit. A friend described him as exuberant recently, what a wonderful word!

    1. Thank you for commenting Helen. So many of my son’s friends, who are in school, are being labelled as having ADHD. It feels like it’s getting a little ridiculous! When we spend time with these children they just seem like normal boys needing lots of physical movement. I can’t imagine our son sitting behind a desk for six hours a day. I know it would make him frustrated. He would fidget and want to get up a lot to move around. I would say our sons are normal, healthy and intelligent, it’s the school system that is dysfunctional!

      1. Absolutely, if he moves around whilst I read aloud, he can answer any number of questions afterwards but if he is made to sit still he takes nothing in. I think many children but perhaps particularly boys of this age end up in school using so much concentration to try and sit still that they can’t listen as well, it’s just too much for them! We have this notion that there is only one way to learn and that’s nonsense!

        1. You’re so right Helen. Human beings are so complex, how can we possibly buy into the belief we all learn the same way. I read a great article once on how people who are labelled Dyslexic have brains that have heighten awareness of 3D and so many become Architects or Design Engineers. But probably only the lucky ones who had parents who looked passed their child’s label or a teacher who refused to give up on them. Imagine all the talent that is wasted because kids are labelled and made to feel there is something wrong with them.

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