QUESTION: Our son is 7 years old and in the second grade. His school went virtual this past spring and we see no end to it, not in the near term at least. When he was going to a brick-and-mortar schoolhouse, he did very well. Close to the top of his class, in fact. Ever since last spring, however, he’s been in a slow decline. I have to stand over him to get him to do anything. His work is sloppy, and his attitude is care-less. When I brought this up to his teacher, she got the school psychologist involved. She says he’s exhibiting signs of ADHD and needs to be tested. I don’t like where this is going. Should I let them test him or not?
ANSWER: I strongly advise against it.
You and your son are in grave danger of becoming ensnared in The Protocol, which consists of a sham process that almost invariably results in a sham diagnosis that almost invariably leads to a medication that has never reliably outperformed placebos in clinical trials. Test, diagnose, medicate — that’s The Protocol, and the diagnosis in question is ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Although the mental health establishment claims that ADHD is a neurologically based disorder involving such unproven things as biochemical imbalances and brain differences, the standard diagnostic test battery includes neither a neurological exam nor an analysis of the child’s nervous system chemistry. The diagnosis of ADHD is made strictly on the basis of behavior, which essentially means the tests are superfluous, given in order to create the false impression that the diagnostic process is scientific. The fact is that once a child has been identified, the diagnosis is all but a given.
No one has ever conclusively proven that ADHD is — as claimed by nearly every online medical narrative — a “disease.” The behaviors — short attention span and impulsivity — are certainly verifiable, but the connection between the behavior and a disease has never been established. The disease model is invoked so as to justify prescribing medications that, to repeat, have never reliably outperformed placebos in clinical trials. In effect, the medications in question are costly placebos with unpredictable side effects including appetite suppression, anxiety and depression. In the long run, “treatment” often consists solely of changing and adjusting said medication on a regular basis.
Once a child is placed on the merry-go-round that defines The Protocol, there is likelihood that he may never get off. I personally know folks who were diagnosed in elementary school and are still taking meds in their 30s. Furthermore, once a child has been identified, the pressure to get on the merry-go-round can be relentless. I encourage you not to go there. Hire a tutor. If you’re able and feel up to it, pull him out of school and homeschool him. Enroll him in a private brick-and-mortar school. Move to the Fiji Islands.
Even if there was scientific validity to the diagnosis, the fact that your son had no problems in a three-dimensional classroom means he is suffering from nothing besides a combination of boredom and screen fatigue. He doesn’t need a diagnosis. He needs a classroom.