Straight from the Fancy Horse’s Mouth -This definition (And the later definition of ADHD) is lifted from “Developmental Disabilities Handbook” from the USD Center for Disabilities. United States Federal Definition – from The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 1994. Public Law 103-230 [42 USC 6001]
(8) Developmental Disability
- The term “developmental disability” means a severe, chronic disability of an individual 5 years of age or older that:
(A) is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
(B) is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
(C) is likely to continue indefinitely;
There are some more following semantics, but that’s not especially important one way or the other regarding the point I want to make (It neither supports or detracts from what I’m saying). Apparently one of the symptoms of ADHD is an uncomfortable, sweaty fetish involving tousling ladies’ hair.
This handbook is filled with a lot of very real, very difficult conditions. Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Marie-Charcot-Tooth, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome. The list goes on with a lot of bad, bad business I wouldn’t wish on anyone – except for that guy who created the “Girls Gone Wild” franchise. Included in this list is ADHD. Let’s look at the symptoms involved in the three varieties of Attention Deficit Disorders.
Predominately Inattentive Type
Failure to pay close attention
Making careless mistakes
Difficulty sustaining attention
Appears not to listen
Struggles to follow through on instructions
Difficulty with organization
Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
May lose things
Forgetful in daily activities
I want you to imagine that list out of context. Let’s say that one of your friends sent you a (weirdly in-depth) text describing the qualities of someone they just met, and this was that list. Drunk guy. Maybe that’s not your first thought, but I know it’s mine. Round 2!
Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
Squirming in chair or fidgeting with hands or feet
Difficulty remaining seated
Runs around or climbs on objects excessively
Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
Acts as if driven by a motor
Blurting out answers before questions are finished
Difficulty with waiting or taking turns
Interrupts or intrudes on others
Same mental ink blot as before – what do you see when you imagine all those traits apropos of nothing? Some random jerk. Maybe some random jerk chugging energy drinks. Round 3!
Displays characteristics of both Predominately Inattentive Type and
Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type.
And now you combine the two and you have some belligerent jackass who’s been drinking alcoholic energy drinks for the last 2 hours. I feel like I also just coincidentally described on the whole the demographic of every dude you’ve ever seen in a raised truck with the Monster Energy Drinks logo sticker on the back. And oh yes, there are hats involved, always a baseball hat involved in that picture…
The point I want to make regarding posting those symptoms is that they aren’t symptoms, they’re behavioral traits. Here’s a symptom from Marie-Charcot-Tooth, “Degeneration of the nerves below the elbows and below the knees”. That’s a symptom which is clearly a medically based issue beyond immediate control. You cannot try harder to make sure and regenerate your nerves, you can – on the other hand – try harder to pay attention. You can try harder to not start climbing chairs.
I used to work for several years in a position teaching children. Not as a school teacher. I worked in a more hobby-ish sense. Imagine if you take your child to some sort of extra-curricular fun time thing, like music classes, gymnastics, ballet, or karate. I taught in that capacity and I did so for close to 5 years. Despite not liking children I begrudgingly admit that I had lots and lots of fun doing it, and to be completely corny I found it enriching to myself as well. This began as being a helper, and maybe for the last 2 years of those 5 I was working with groups of 20 or so kids on a regular basis without higher authority (The main instructor) there to back me up. We had a relatively large percentage of “Trouble” children due to a good reputation of not turning anyone away from difficulty, and for the good reputation of quality work. So parents brought their children to us for a couple hours in the hopes of some external discipline and structure. We had a fair number of “ADD/ADHD” children.
What I felt in working with these children was not that there was any inherent condition making things more difficult for them. I say that because I could get those children to perform and behave with the rest of the group. There was no obstructing presence or detriment I had to work around. I didn’t have to change any curriculum or make special allowances to create a environment in which they could participate. I just had to be a little more convincing, a little cleverer. All those kids needed was a little bit extra of a push and then they were just “hunky dory” following the flow of everyone else.
If there was a disorder, a condition, symptoms present I would be forced to work around those parameters, that’s the whole point of calling something a disorder – it’s beyond your control. Yet all I ever had to do was just be a little bit more persuasive or give just a little more attention and all was well.
It isn’t a disorder if all you have to do is ask someone please, and suddenly their disorder vanishes from the mists of convenience.
Here’s a quick few examples of real conditions, with real symptoms. It’s to emphasize the point that these are literal unchangeable things I would need to work around were I trying to work with this child.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: Loss of bowel and bladder control, Loss of previously acquired motor skills Coffin-Lowry Syndrome: Kyphosis and/or scoliosis (curvature of the spine) Cornelia De Lange Syndrome: Congenital heart defects
Cystic Fibrosis: Recurrent pneumonia
This list could very easily go on and on much longer. In none of those genuine conditions can you simply turn it off if someone asks you nicely. I’m sorry, but it appears your child has a severe case of being an insufferable brat. Our only options are drugs or euthanasia.
One of the factors which bothers me the most on the issue of ADD/ADHD is that I have yet to hear of or find any concrete physical evidence of the fact. I’m a big fan of science, and read a good deal of scientific articles, or at least the abstract and results if I have to pay for the whole thing, so I’d like to believe I’m at least decent at being able to search through articles. Yet no results for ADD/ADHD. What I want is something that says “A –> B” that some sort of genetic problem causes a continual and physiologically incorrect amount of neurotransmitters to be released, resulting in symptoms.