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Should Children Be Compliant Drones or Free Thinkers? Why ADHD Diagnoses Are on the Rise in U.S. Schools

Opinion by Joshua Cook | Jan. 25, 2015


“Medicate your son, or find another school.”

I was shocked and confused when I heard those words from the Christian school my son attends, a place where he is thriving academically.

I felt angry that they were giving up on him so quickly, and then a bit disappointed in my 5-year-old for misbehaving in the classroom.

As someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD, I know what it’s like to be constantly bored in the traditional classroom.  And I also know first hand of the horrible side effects of ADHD medication.  I know that’s he’s no angel, but I also know what he’s going through. Like me, he is a free thinker who wants to share his imaginative ideas and gets frustrated with rules and the structure of traditional education. Traditional education that manufactures compliant drones instead of free thinkers like him.

In American schools, “those divergent,” those who don’t fit into the U.S. system, are often medicated into submission.

So is the problem with American children or the American educational system? Apparently children in France don’t have ADHD problems like we do in the U.S.

According to Psychology Today, Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., wrote that at least 9 percent of school-age American children are diagnosed and medicated for ADHD. In France, that number is less than .5 percent. What makes France different from the United States in regards to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD?

The main difference is how each country treats ADHD. In America, psychologists consider it to be a biological disorder with biological causes. Because of this, the preferred treatment is biological, in the form of medications like Concerta, Ritalin and Adderall.

That point of view is not shared by French child psychologists, who treat ADHD behavior “as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes.”

According to Wedge, that means that children in France aren’t medicated. “French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child’s brain but in the child’s social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling,” she wrote.

“This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child’s brain,” she added.

How did we get to the place in our culture where we look to Big Pharma to solve life’s worst problems? But for the French, these problems are not universal problems. They are merely American problems…

So I’m not moving to France to solve this problem. There is a free market and I can find other options to help my son.

I believe Ron Paul has created a great case why parents should consider home schooling as a viable option to educate their children. It’s an option that’s becoming more and more attractive to me.

What’s your thoughts? Please comment below.