Common Core: ADHD Diagnostics and Treatment

large_ritalinI have two different things to share with you here, and I will connect them at the end.  It will be evident to some of you, but if you are not familiar with ADHD and some incidents in our country involving courts mandating ADHD medication for children, it might not be.

Here are the accepted effects of ADHD on society:

  • Problems succeeding in school and successfully graduating.
  • Problems at work, lost productivity, and reduced earning power.
  • Problems with relationships. 
  • More driving citations and accidents. 
  • Problems with overeating and obesity. 
  • Problems with the law. 

I recently read an article by the World Federation on ADHD  that discussed the differences between countries regarding diagnosing, treating, school intervention and payment for ADHD.  The ways in which school settings perceive and react to ADHD symptoms of children also differ widely between countries.   The World Federation on ADHD advocated for consistent worldwide standards for assessment, treatment and “multimodal intervention.”

In addition, global evidence reporting on shorter- and longer-duration medications indicates a trend toward an increased market share for newer, time released medications that last longer, despite their far higher cost. In other words, that’s what people prefer.  More expensive long-acting formulations of medications are becoming more widespread. Nations with socialized medical care provide a better menu of evidence-based interventions. This is all viewed as a problem.

The solution? “…the best global strategy for improvement in care would prioritize (worldwide) policy- and service-related objectives that promote the overall quality of care.” The World Federation on ADHD calls for research for better understanding of both across-nation and within-nation variability in interventions and access to treatment, and then a reduction in variables.

Ok, let’s switch to the United States for a few minutes.  In the US judges can constitutionally order drugs and treatments given to a child in spite of opposition from his parents. In addition, schools can force parents to medicate children. Parents are medicating their children for fear of losing them to Child Protective Services.

The US Government has also begun implementing a mental health screening policy recommended by the President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (NFC).  President Bush instructed more than 25 federal agencies to develop an implementation plan to screen America’s 52 million school children and 6 million school personnel  for hidden mental illness. The rationale? Evidence of America’s blind faith in science and technology to offer solutions for complex human and societal problems.  No other “free” country in the world has  adopted a government policy to screen the entire population – children first – for undetected mental illness. Couple this with the data mining about health, disabilities, behavior and family history that Common Core includes…

One other note about universal mental health screening: the method used to screen for mental and behavioral problems has been determined flawed, but it continues to be used by the discredited eugenics movement which sought to screen for mental “defectives.” Eugenics and psychiatry suffer from a common philosophical fallacy that “faith-based” ideological assumptions that mental and behavior problems are biologically determined, and can, therefore, be resolved through biological interventions.

However, the diagnosis of mental illness lacks scientific validity – it relies entirely on the subjective assessment by mental health professionals and normative check lists, records reviews, interviews, and observation by QUALIFIED specialists, not computer software under the supervision by non-clinical staff in a school. This flaw was acknowledged by the US Surgeon General report “mental health is not easy to define: what it means to be mentally healthy is subject to many different interpretations that are rooted in value judgments that may vary across cultures.” Another shortcoming: mental health professionals have an interest in expanding the patient roster to guarantee their paychecks. Therefore, screening will most likely inflate the number of American children (and adults) labeled with a mental illness and prescribed medication.

The New Freedom Commission Report praised two mental health programs: TeenScreen and TMAP. TeenScreen is a questionnaire devised by psychiatrists at Columbia University “to make sure that every teen in the US has access to free mental health check-up.” TeenScreen is already operating in more than 100 schools in 34 states and as the executive director told a congressional committee: “In 2003, we were able to screen approximately 14,200 teens…; among those students, we were able to identify approximately 3,500 youth with mental health problems and link them with treatment. This year, we believe we will be able to identify close to 10,000 teens in need, a 300 percent increase over last year.” Unfortunately, this is not a maybe; rather,it is a policy driven by commercial interests.

Remember the World Federation on ADHD and it’s recommendations?

One final thought: On August 27, 2013, Pearson, the world’s largest learning company and a major contributor to the Common Core Standards and who will continue to benefit–to the tune of billions of dollars–from its continued implementation, announced that it bought BioBehavioral Diagnostics, developer of Quotient, the only FDA-approved tool for the measurement of the symptoms of ADHD.  The press release on Pearson’s website states “The Quotient ADHD Test provides quantitative analysis of motion, attention and shifts in attention states, bringing a new level of rigor and reliability to ADHD diagnosis and remediation. Focusing on a highly prevalent condition known to pose serious challenges to educational outcomes, this acquisition marks a strategic entry into healthcare markets for Pearson, the world leader in clinical and educational assessment for learners.”   Quite a mouthful, especially when you put the World Federation on ADHD and Common Core Standards together, along with the array of monitors that Common Core wants to put in the classroom and on your children, you see where this is going.

In spite of Common Core Math, 2 + 2 really does equal 4, and I can even explain how I got it.    rip bill of rights

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