ADHD - is this weird?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sarge, May 5, 2015.

  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    14 years of teaching primary grades-13 years in first grade, most recent year in second grade. Approximately 280 students have gone through my class.

    Out of those 280 students, I can count on less than one hand the number of kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD and medicated for it while they were in my class.

    The number might actually be just one that I know of.

    I teach in a very diverse, lower socioeconomic district. I'm also the teacher where the previous grade teachers often say (and I've confirmed it) "He needs to have a male teacher" when they distribute kids for the following year. So it's not like none of my kids have ADHD, it's just that none of them are getting any treatment for it.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    No, that makes a ton of sense, especially going by the income level of the parents in your district. Perhaps this might change as health care becomes more attainable?
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If you don't have health insurance, you probably can't afford to do the diagnostics or pay for the medication. I don't thing is is weird at all.
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    So in other words, I'm dealing with lots of undiagnosed, untreated ADHD students instead of my previous theory that children from low socio-economic populations were simply less likely to have ADHD due to some genetic immunity from it.

    Wow. I wonder if that invalidates my other theory that students from low-socioeconomic populations have naturally better eyesight than more affluent students. I reached that conclusion when I realized that very few kids at my school wear eyeglasses.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is why I adore you, Sarge.
     
  7. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I teach high school at a private school. Of the 102 students I have this year, 41 are on medication for ADHD or Depression, 1 on medication for OCD, and one on medication for Bipolar.
     
  8. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Something else you might be dealing with is the fear of a label or stigma that comes with sped designation...I see it all the time
     
  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I think you run into a bit of the "oh, that's the culture" "that's how the kids were raised" stuff--which may have different levels of legitimacy.

    Makes it all the more desirable to have proper diagnostics done.
     
  10. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Geez.........I've always felt that there's an over-medication of society as it is. I think it should be something like 1 in 50,000 are diagnosed and medicated for ADHD and every other poster on this topic feels that 5 (or under) out of 280 is too few. :dizzy:
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'm talking no treatment whatsoever. Home conditions and diet that aggravate the situation.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We watched some video in a PD last year that talked about the extraordinary numbers of kids diagnosed with ADHD on the east coast vs. the west coast. California as an entire state had extremely low numbers, and the number of kids with ADHD just continued to increase as you got farther east. Of course the presenter was trying to make the point that it's over-diagnosed, but I'm not buying it.

    I'm in Colorado, and even though my district is low SES, the "all natural/organic/chemical free" mindset is very popular here. Based on stereotypes alone, I'd guess you may have the same issue in California. I constantly hear parents say that they know their child probably has ADHD, it runs in the family, they see signs at home too, etc. but they absolutely refuse to "put chemicals in their child's body." I'm not exaggerating at all when I say I've heard this at least 15 times this year alone. I had a parent tell me earlier this year that she thinks having her child attend a self-contained behavior unit would be "less restrictive" than trying medication.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I don't diagnose. I'm not a doctor. I leave the doctoring to the medical professionals. The folks that are paid to handle medical diagnoses tell me that 4 of the 83 3rd graders I've been the classroom teacher for have ADHD. I'll trust their judgment on that, which makes me think that 1-5 out of 280 is probably a low number.
     
  14. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    This is something that many people like to say, but with all due respect, people suffering with mental illness (including depression and ADHD) often benefit from medications and become much happier and more productive when on them. 150 years ago, people with high blood pressure didn't have medications, but we would never say that high blood pressure is "over-medicated" now. I agree that mental illness is harder to define and therefore to medicate, but I would not assume that the people under a doctor's care do not need it.
    We all have feelings, but that doesn't mean we can make judgements about the way other people feel (even though it's hard not to sometimes). Without a doctor showing a number from some very objective test, sometimes it's hard to believe that people are not fully well.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I have ADHD - my parents never medicated me for it. I learned coping mechanisms.

    My neurologist didn't want to medicate a 4 year old for ADHD.
     
  16. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    With so many years in first, I would bet you see kids who are eventually diagnosed. Their parents are waiting to see if they outgrow behaviors typical of ADHD. Teaching middle school in a low ses area, I had several (2-5) students with ADHD in each class and many were only recently diagnosed and treated. In elementary school with the same population, I have only 1 or 2 per grade of 120.
     
  17. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Hey bros. I should've listened to you a number of years ago when I was describing my son's difficulties and you suggested ADD. I since read a wonderful book by Dr. Hallowell called Delivered from Distraction. Almost immediately I recognized myself in many of the stories he talks about as well as my son. After re-reading it I realized my daughter has ADD mind as well.

    I grew up in exSoviet Union, there were NO diagnoses 30 years ago and much less meds. My mom liked to tell me after we've lived in US for a while and she worked with kids, that if I was born in America as a child I would definitely be diagnosed with ADHD and put on Ritalin.

    I'm so glad I didn't grow up in America and didn't have to take meds! I believe that ADD or ADHD gets worse in certain circumstances. However, with some hard work from parents and teachers the child's ADD could be contained within reasonable limits and s/he can learn to be a productive member of the society. A quote from Deliv. from Distraction book:

    Keys to happiness and success in childhood are to have he right parents and find the right teachers


    I don't deny meds. I agree that some kids have it too rough and even caring parents and teachers cannot help, then meds can be live-saviors
     
  18. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Way to go, Sarge! A teacher who is aware of ADD kids and believes that it's up to him/her to motivate them enough or to find a personal approach is what kids with ADD need, imho.

    As a sub, I'm often told (by aides, usually in a low voice) to beware of certain kids whose behavior are "too hyper." ADD kids usually stand out in a class anyway. I'm often successful in finding the right approach to them (given enough time and opportunity), and that tends to surprise some adults who are so used to treating those kids with the useless phrases like concentrate! pay attention!
     
  19. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I would agree with this. I usually have one student every year that is diagnosed and on medication (out of small classes-usually around 15 students, give or take a few). Then, I often have 1-2 others that are considered 'borderline' or diagnosed and trying other treatments. Usually, they were all diagnosed toward the end of 2nd grade, even though they may have shown signs in K and 1st grade.

    I will say that the one student on medication is usually really strong evidence for the fact that some individuals with ADHD really need medication in order to function most effectively, usually on those days/weeks when it becomes clear that they have not had their medicine...
     
  20. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    A few thoughts:

    1) Sarge, not sure of the kind of diversity you experience, but sometimes certain populations seeks formal treatment less often, for various reasons (suspicious of the system, not wanting to be "on the map," etc.).

    2) There is a difference between suppressing ADHD and treating it. You'll find that kids with ADHD can demonstrate fewer symptoms in certain settings for various reasons. ADHD doesn't mandate behaviors to occur - it makes them more tempting and likely. Counter balance that temptation with fear, for example, or even a highly engaging, mobile-oriented classroom, and you might see fewer symptoms.

    3) Informal teacher referrals to parents are often the start of the diagnosis chain of events. Not referring to a teacher suggesting a parent seek medical treatment specifically, but usually that teachers who communicate a lot to parents that behavior is really an issue create a situation in which parents feel more compelled to speak to their doctor. If you are less vocal about relevant behavior, parents aren't going to seek out treatment as much.

    4) You may only be getting certain kinds of kids (and behavior problems) in your class. Your administration may be good at identifying the difference between kids who are impulsive, and kids who might need a strong authority figure. If so, your admin may be sending those kids (potentially diagnosable) in different directions.
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I don't think Utah is anywhere near California and Colorado on the crunchy/natural thing, but that is a very popular idea at least in the LDS culture, so I get my share.

    I have a student who is diagnosed with ADHD and I'd say a legitimate case (among a host of other things including a druggie birth mom and skull fractures when he was adopted, etc.) He kept having bad physical reactions to varying ADHD medications, so when he entered my class, his mom explained the host of essential oils and herbs and energy work she was currently trying on him.



    In general on the subject, I have other kids in my class who might be considered ADD or ADHD. A couple are diagnosed as such. But, as others have said, I'm not the doctor. As a teacher you learn to work with it. I come from a family full of ADD and ADHD people, so I like to think I have a decent feel for who is truly in that territory and who just has what have you in regards to personality. Still, you work with it.
     
  22. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    how true!
    I was subbing the other day in a (private!) school, 1st grade. It was Quaker's school, 150+ years old, one 1 class per grade, small classes. I'm new there, so I don't know what's happening in other classes.

    However, this particular 1st grade I've been in the teacher doesn't seem to believe in occupiying kids. They had a total of maybe 1 hour of direct instructions that day, the rest was quiet time, playground time, PE, coloring time.

    Boy, were the children bored out of their minds in that classroom! I'm usually pretty good at idenfying ADD kids in any classroom. This particular one seemed to have 5-6 (that's out of 21!) It was an obvious case of not being challenged enough.

    Usually, when a teacher doesn't leave enough work, I try to find my own, but that day was different. I had a hard time engaging them, because I'm new, I'm not sure how much I could strain from the teacher's plan. Also, the whole class gave off an impression that they are not used to work
     
  23. casey

    casey Rookie

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    I don't want to get into diagnosing/over-treatment/etc. The point I would like to share is that in the last two years our insurance provider decided that most ADHD meds would no longer be covered. That means that out of pocket for meds alone can be almost $700.00 per month. Additionally, kids with ADHD generally need to have med checks wit the doctor at least twice a year. The cost can certainly become a factor for many families that might otherwise have children who are diagnosed with ADHD.
     
  24. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    There are perfectly legit ways to treat ADHD without medication. I'm talking about parents who are in complete denial that anything might be wrong with their kid and see no problem sending him to school with a giant bag of candy.
     

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