ADHD: Science-Based Medicine and Psychology!

This past week the Vancouver Sun, along with most other major new outlets in Canada, published articles about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) diagnosis that mislead the public about diagnosis, scared parents about treatment, and demonstrated a lack of understanding of the psychological and medical systems here in British Columbia.

Regretfully in our schools today there are 1) a great number of UNDIAGNOSED children who are failing educationally and failing socially, and 2) a number of teachers who do not know the basic scientific facts about ADHD. This in spite of the fact that recent popular press articles have focused on there being misdiagnosed children. As a matter of fact, the articles were about POSSIBLE misdiagnosed children. No information was given about the number of children we know have ADHD versus the number actually diagnosed (lower) and the number getting any kind of science based treatment intervention (very low). Dr. Barkley discusses this issue in the video I have posted below and I'll leave it to you to watch (teaser!)

Over the past several years I have given several dozen presentations to schools relating to child behaviour and teaching. Almost every one of these presentations has been on the subject of autism or Asperger's disorder, in spite of my own urging to the schools that what they need is training, information and support to help students with ADHD. (Ask any teacher what student is most difficult for them to teach effectively and understand, most would admit it's the student with ADHD. Yet there is little funding in this area, some district do not even provide services to these children, and little if any training.)

A common response from classroom teachers about students with ADHD is that they purposefully engage in the "troublesome" behaviours that cause disruption, that they make a "choice" to do this, and finally, that they are capable of just sitting down and doing the work "because they can focus on something that interests them for hours!" These accusations of "laziness" and "willfulness" are often shocking, but come from a point of view that is uninformed, or if they get science information from sources like the Vancouver Sun, MISINFORMED.

I am providing a link here to a rather long lecture by Dr. Russell Barkley, PhD.
Click here for Dr. Barkley's lecture given at UC Davis.

I always want to also mention an excellent book about children having educational difficulty by Dr. Mel Levine called "The Myth of Laziness." While this book isn't about ADHD it is about executive dysfunction and students who, despite being bright and capable, simply cannot produce work at school. I cannot recommend this book enough!

Dr. Barkley's lectures are always interesting. If you have never heard him speak, this lecture is worth watching. It is long but filled with great information. And I suggest that every school purchase Dr. Barkley's series of DVDs on ADHD.

If you and your doctor are interested in a comprehensive assessment for ADHD, which consists of extensive behavioural and medical history taking, comprehensive cognitive and educational assessment, as well as neuropsychological assessment to determine the exact nature of your problem and help with developing an individualized intervention plan, please feel free to contact me. My evaluations follow the guideline for a comprehensive differential diagnostic exam as suggested by professional associations and medical groups. It is more than a simple 20 question checklist! (Remember, when trying to find the reason for a problem we don't just look at what we think something is, we also need to do a comprehensive differential diagnostic process to rule out other possible causes of the problem!) Additionally I am able to provide ongoing assessment of cognitive processes through specialized neuropsychological tool which tell us if treatment is really working, and improvement isn't just "placebo" based.

For more information about my practice in Vancouver and Burnaby you can click hereclick here. Information on adult and child diagnosis for ADHD can be found by clicking here.
Information on CADDAC can be found by clicking here.
To find Russell Barkley's web page on ADHD click here.
My Psychology Today web site can be found by clicking here.
My AAMFT web page can be found by clicking here.

Dr. Jim Roche
Child and Adolescent Treatment for ADHD
Adult Treatment for ADHD