The Chiming Alarm of the ADHD School Bell May be Heard!

As noted by so many parents in the support group that I provide clinical advice, their most urgent issue is that first phone call or text message of the year from their child’s teacher! It may be a call from the principal’s office regarding a disciplinary issue or from a teacher who can no longer tolerate the twitching and running around the classroom and distracting other children from learning as well as her well developed lesson plan interrupted by that noisy child!

Every parent with an ADHD child prays that when they say farewell to their precious angel who is eagerly boarding the yellow school bus, this will be a good year. Some believe that their child has had a great, active summer and has outgrown that disruptive behavior that last years impatient teacher could no longer tolerate. Unfortunately, if a child has been clinically diagnosed as ADHD, this condition will accompany the eager, happy student on the school bus and into the classroom. An experienced teacher will immediately spot this over-energized child who cannot sit still or focus on the lesson being presented no matter how much the child seeks to please and win the admiration of this parent figure. Any form of teacher discipline or the denial of recess, which is the most ridiculous form of punishment since this child needs to release that restrained energy level, will change this classroom misbehavior. If this is a true seasoned teacher, inservice instruction and graduate studies should have provided a clear understanding of the symptoms of ADHD and how to instruct this child. Unfortunately our teacher education programs do not provide adequate training on learning differences and the attitude that prevails is that a teacher must focus on the other twenty-five students who are willing to learn and behave not a” problem ” child.

Hence, RING-A-DING ,the school alarm bell is contacting the parent to do something about this child who refuses to learn and pay attention! What does a parent do? Punish, spank this child who has embarrassed the family or home school the child and hope that this problem disappears? None of the above because both the parent and the school own this neurological problem. Your little angel did not come into this world to make so many people miserable, most of all himself! Yes, I am clinically attributing ADHD to the mis-fired neurons in the brain of these children. No, they are not brain damaged but,as in the color of their beautiful eyes, they inherited a neurology (neuro-chemical) that does require medicinal intervention to function, not unlike epilepsy.  This is a genetic predisposition that the child’s father, mother, siblings and grandparents may have and, perhaps, never clinically diagnosed or treated. Indeed, ADHD is a neurological condition that a child does not outgrow but will ultimately learn to manage as a teen and an adult. Parents of ADHD children are in it for the long term and must learn all that they can about this condition. They must be a parent advocate in every grade level at school, educate teachers and administrators about their child’s needs and seek clinical and, at times, legal advocates to demand a proper education for their child. Most of all, these parents need to find and indulge in counseling support for themselves, a place to vent, find compassion and others in a support group. I can only provide my own experience as a licensed clinician and, most of all, a parent and grandparent of children and adults with ADHD. The benefits of giving birth to these little angels is that most ADHD children arrive with a high IQ, are not physically disabled or mentally retarded and do become loving family members if provided with unconditional love and nurturance.

I will continue this series on ADHD with more information on the next topic of school programs and learning strategies. Please do let me hear your voice and your questions .


As noted by the numerous articles that I have written on a multitude of topics I will be devoting a significant number of articles on the topic of ADHD, a subject very close to my heart and to my family. I have been presented with so many questions, concerns and urgent requests for information and advice on the issues associated with the sweet angels of these distraught parents. It should be noted that I frequently refer to children as “angels” because they are God’s gift to all of us. It should also be noted that, as a clinician, I never refer to any learning difficulty as a “disability” but as a learning DIFFERENCE. The term disability defines such learning styles as a negative,  a handicap, a deficit not a different approach or strategy in seeing and coping with the world.

I will attempt to respond to the many topics presented to me on an abbreviated level and in future, consistent articles, provide a more comprehensive discussion of each topic. Parents have questioned the diagnosis of ADHD, the need for medication, usefulness of special diets, acquiring school support in the form of 504 programs and IEPs, early diagnosis and the predisposition for this condition.

I will be providing a more in depth definition of ADHD but the Mayo Clinic description describes this disorder as a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. This condition is exhibited by a combination of persistent problems such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. These children also struggle with low self esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. I would like to comment that this renown medical establishment does, indeed, document the existence of this condition while a few doctors believe that this condition does not really exist.  I will be responding this this conflictual view in later articles.

On the topic of school/classroom management by teachers, unfortunately so many of our teacher preparation programs of study do not provide adequate training and information on learning differences as represented by at least ten percent of the children in their classrooms. Therefore, academic interventions such as 504 and IEPs are crucial for children with learning differences. The 504 program that many parents have referred to is not a mandated learning commitment on the part of the school but it does provide a child with academic but temporary support. An IEP is a long term, legal, binding contract between the parent, school district and the federal government with consequences if the specific intervention programs are not followed. I will expand on this topic in future articles.

As noted in the Mayo Clinic definition of ADHD, this condition does persist into adulthood and , yes, there are ADHD parents as well as children. This neurological condition is a genetic predisposition and is passed on throughout generations. Early detection, observation and intervention is crucial in order to help those little angels to learn and make friends before they experience long term peer rejection and academic failure. More to come on this profound topic!

On the topic of medication, I do not advocate any specific mediation nor force parents to choose this method of intervention. However, since this is a neurological condition, only medication can address and facilitate those neurons that do not fire appropriately, the cause of ADHD. It should be considered that if a child had diabetes or epilepsy, there would be no question in the prescription of medication. It is always recommended that a healthy diet filled with fruits and veggies with minimal sweets will benefit any child but nutrition does not completely facilitate neuro-electrical brain activity. More to come on this extensive subject.

It does take a most loving, persistent and warrior parents to nurture and protect those little angels of ADHD. I must be honest and reveal that this learning and behavioral difference is not curable nor will a child ,who is accurately diagnosed, will out grow this condition. In future articles, I will provide more information, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER,( a personal motto )and supportive strategies to manage and love your angels so much more.

Please do provide your feedback and suggestions for future discussions.