OGDEN — Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder real or just an excuse? Is medication always the right answer?
ADHD is real, said Weber County School District elementary school counselor Edward Williams, who said current research indicates 5 to 8 percent of the school population meets the criteria for ADHD. However, less than half of them actually get diagnosed. Of the half who do, less than half of those receive any meaningful treatment.
“It boils down to two to three in most classrooms,” Williams said. “Although some of them are very disruptive in the classroom, there are others who are not but cannot succeed because they just can’t stay focused or keep track of their work, despite being very bright. It takes a terrible toll on their self-esteem.”
Williams, along with other experts in the field, will be teaching classes from September through May on ADHD. Although the classes are free, pre-registration is required. Some of the topics discussed will include facts versus myths, family training and how to handle misbehavior.
Williams said one of the biggest myths about ADHD is that it doesn’t exist and is just an excuse for poor behavior, poor parenting or poor teaching. Another myth is that the disorder is a minor problem that kids will outgrow.
Williams said parents, teachers and physicians have to make a careful assessment of children before diagnosing them with ADHD. He said some of the signs include difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, making careless mistakes, not following through, interrupting, fidgeting, talking and blurting out too much, losing things and being easily distracted.
Success in treating ADHD begins with first seeing it as a disability rather than a rebellious child.
“Then it becomes a matter of finding ways of helping the child structure their life in such a way that they can stay on task, stop and think, be respectful,” Williams said. “That often means making accommodations up front so they can be successful. It also requires teaching them ways of compensating for the problems the ADHD cause so they can be successful despite it.”
Williams said there is considerable research that shows in most cases ADHD is a genetic factor that interferes with the signal traveling from one neuron to the next. He said sugar, diet and TV have also been blamed but there is no significant research to support these claims.
“ADHD is a real disorder that impacts all that have it and can lead to very serious problems if not addressed,” he said.
Class dates and times. Pre-registration is required by calling Kathy at 801-387-3740.
• ADHD Facts Vs. Myths
Where: McKay- Dee Hospital education center, first floor
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
When: Sept. 22, Nov. 17, Jan. 26, March 22, May 24
• Parent to Parent: Family Training on ADHD
Sept. 20-Nov. 1: Weber High School, Room 31, 3650 N. 500 West, Pleasant View
Jan. 10-Feb. 21: Ben Lomond High School, meeting room, 1080 9th St., Ogden
Feb. 9-March 22: Roy High School, media center, 2150 W. 4800 South, Roy
• 1-2-3 MAGIC - introducing the concepts on handling misbehavior.
Sept 14-Oct. 5: Farr West Elementary School, media center, 2190 W. 2700 North, Farr West
March 7-28: Farr West Elementary School, media center