Monday, March 3, 2014

ABC = ADD

As I sit in a classroom of 9th graders utterly unengaged and utterly uncooperative I wonder if they are all ADD or just so poor, so badly educated and treated by the time they got here it's a free for all and crap shoot for who will make it out of here.

The School Yard to the Prison Yard has been the stereotype upon the archetype but what it is is a collapse of funding over the years that have left public educators in an utter bind. So to simply stave off the constant flux and demands of trying to corral children with little nutrition, guidance, support or opportunity the solution for now is to medicate or to expel and turn this into "someone else's problem."

If you note the tragic tales of the families who struggle to get their child into Charter schools is one in which we believe are uniform tragic tales are in fact those in which to manipulate, blame or fault the teachers, their unions and the current enitre system in which education exists. But what it is in fact a perfect of example of how whole stories are not told. This story of the superman for whom they are waiting apparently does not exist for those who don't, can't, won't or somehow utterly incapable of doing the same, also don't deserve the same. So let the Oligarchs do it for you. It is easier to look at a piece of the pie that you want and that is the money in the system, than the state of the whole pie. And of course the kind of pie served is nowhere as organic, delightful and beautiful as the one served the children of the upper classes and those fortunate to go to private schools and academies. Dont' see those places waiting for a superhero.

So the belief that the earlier the education the better and then the duck print of expectations, learning skills and other measures of success are then put in place or not. There are as many variations and types in this largely unregulated field. So you get what you pay for or don't pay for. Without a concept of expectations don't expect any. One size does not fit all and not all are Gucci.

And on that note I read this editorial and once again the big hand of big pharma raises. They are good students that way to raise their hands before speaking in which to beat you with a club. Head injury, brain injury be it from a blow to the head or the drugs they put in it, is not the same in some way?

Expand Pre-K, Not A.D.H.D

RICHARD M. SCHEFFLER
Feb. 23, 2014"

BERKELEY, Calif. — THE writing is on the chalkboard. Over the next few years, America can count on a major expansion of early childhood education. We embrace this trend, but as health policy researchers, we want to raise a major caveat: Unless we’re careful, today’s preschool bandwagon could lead straight to an epidemic of 4- and 5-year-olds wrongfully being told that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Introducing millions of 3- to 5-year-olds to classrooms and preacademic demands means that many more distracted kids will undoubtedly catch the attention of their teachers. Sure, many children this age are already in preschool, but making the movement universal and embedding transitional-K programs in public schools is bound to increase the pressure.

We’re all for high standards, but danger lurks


The American Academy of Pediatrics now endorses the idea that the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. can and should begin at age 4, before problems accumulate. In fact, Adderall and other stimulants are approved for treatment of attentional issues in children as young as 3

Early intervention for children with A.D.H.D. could provide great relief. Children who go untreated have major difficulties in school and with their peers, and they have higher-than-normal rates of accidents and physical injuries.

The problem is that millions of American children have been labeled with A.D.H.D. when they don’t truly have it. Our research has revealed a worrisome parallel between our nation’s increasing push for academic achievement and increased school accountability — and skyrocketing A.D.H.D. diagnoses, particularly for the nation’s poorest children.

For example, we found that in public schools, A.D.H.D. diagnoses of kids within 200 percent of the federal poverty level jumped 59 percent after accountability legislation passed, compared with under 10 percent for middle- and high-income children. There was no such trend in private schools, which are not subject to legislation like this. By age 17, nearly one in five American boys and one in 10 girls has been told that they have A.D.H.D. That comes to 6.4 million children and adolescents — a 40 percent increase from a decade ago and more than double the rate 25 years ago. Nearly 70 percent of these kids are prescribed stimulant medications

Families and physicians must take special care in medicating very young children. Today’s push for performance sets us on a troubling trajectory. A surge in diagnoses would mean more prescriptions despite guidance from professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommend that behavioral therapy rather than medication be used as first-line treatment for children under 6.

Too many kids are identified and treated after an initial pediatric visit of 20 minutes or even less. Accurate diagnosis requires reports of impairment from home and school, and a thorough history of the child and family must be taken, to rule out abuse or unrelated disorders

Yes, this would be more time consuming and costly in the short term. But just like investing in preschool, spending more today on careful diagnosis and treatment of A.D.H.D. will lead to lifetimes of savings. As the early childhood education movement builds, let’s make sure we proceed with caution. We should fundamentally rethink how we diagnose and treat A.D.H.D., especially for our youngest citizens.

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