Recent questions sent to Dr. Block
Q. Do you believe children with learning disorders are unfairly misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD? What traits exhibited in these students can trigger a misdiagnosis?
A. Yes, I do. Any of the symptoms attributed to ADHD can be from learning disabilities or processing problems.
Q. Do you believe teacher may be biased in recommending their students for testing? How about struggling students? Or ESL students? If so, why in your opinion?
A. Teachers are often over worked and under paid. They have been taught that drugging kids is helpful. They do it out of caring for the child but they do it with misinformation. Too often they learn about drugging kids when they do student teaching so it is a pattern that gets handed down from teacher to teacher. They might see a child stop fiddling or moving around and seem to focus better but because they are not doctors they know nothing about the potential side effects which can include sudden death. Teachers often think a child who is struggling has ADHD instead of considering other underlying problems such as diet, problems in the home, allergies and other medical and educational issues. ESL kids may have the same problem with teachers as the teacher may misconstrue their inability to learn to ADHD instead of not understanding the language.
Q. What age group are the children most likely recommended for testing? Is it mostly recommended by their parents or teachers?
A. Any age and usually by teachers, but more often in elementary school.
Q. What could be the aftereffects of misdiagnosis?
A. The most serious of course, is death from a drug that should never have been prescribed at all. Go to RitalinDeath.com and see for yourself.
Q. What steps can parents take to safeguard their child from misdiagnosing with ADHD?
A. Don’t let it happen at all. Don’t allow anyone to give them that label. Don’t let anyone “test” their child for it since there is no objective test. When parents told the teacher that their child was taking ADHD drugs, but actually did not give them to the child at all, 90% of the time the teachers thought the child was better just because they thought the child was taking a drug. It looks like a placebo for the teacher to me.
Q. What steps or precaution can teachers take to ensure they do not accidentally recommend their non-ADHD students for ADHD testings?
A. In my opinion, it should never be done. ADHD is simply a subjective psychiatric label. There is no objective test for it. The teachers and parents fill out a check list of symptoms. No lab is drawn, no physical exam is usually performed. Most doctors just look at the check list and give the diagnosis and a prescription for a drug. No where else in medicine does this occur. To diagnose someone with hypertension, the doctor takes the blood pressure. It is an objective test. To diagnose someone with diabetes, the doctor draws blood. It is an objective test. Only psychiatric diagnoses lack objectivity.
Q. What typical learning disabilities do misdiagnose ADHD-children have?
A. Any kind. They can have auditory and visual processing problems, dyslexia, dysgraphia.
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