Despite being a highly common disorder, ADHD is widely misunderstood by the general public. Those who don’t understand what ADHD is or the symptoms that are typically associated with the disorder often label children with ADHD as “troublemakers”. Whether negative public perception of ADHD is a result of laziness or stubbornness, these common misperceptions about ADHD fuel discrimination and stigma that further hurt children that already have so much to overcome.
Kids With ADHD Choose to Act That Way
There are no doubt some children that choose to behave in a way that is unproductive or inappropriate for the setting. However, the inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness that children with ADHD display is not due to choice. ADHD is biologically based and is the result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Most children with ADHD genuinely want to do well and please their parents, teachers, and other authority figures. But no amount of choice or willpower will change the chemical makeup of their brains.
Kids With ADHD Are Stupid and Lazy
This is one of the most common misperceptions about ADHD, yet could not be further from the truth. Study after study has shown that children with ADHD are of above-average intelligence and have greater capacity for creativity than most kids. The difficulty is in focusing that intelligence and creativity in a productive manner. The classroom, where observations of intelligence are most often made, is not a good place for a child with ADHD to display their intellectual prowess. As a result, school personnel and the child’s peers develop negative perceptions of the child’s ability to perform academically.
Kids With ADHD Get Special Treatment at School They Don’t Deserve
ADHD is a diagnosable mental disorder recognized by the National Institutes of Health, the American Psychiatric Association, the U.S. Department of Education and a host of other professional organizations. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders, 5th Edition classifies ADHD as a neurodevelopmental disorder, thus reflecting it’s biological basis. Because of this, schools are required to provide children with ADHD certain accommodations that assist them in learning and demonstrating their learning.
Kids With ADHD Eventually Outgrow It
The vast majority of children who have ADHD have it at least into early adulthood. Studies show that over 70 percent of children will have it through adolescence, and 50 percent will have it throughout their adult lives. The idea that ADHD can be outgrown isn’t just incorrect, it engenders the notion that it is something that can be willfully controlled or is the product of one’s life stage or the environment in which one lives. ADHD is a chronic condition that requires treatment in order to foster optimal functioning. Debunking these common misperceptions about ADHD is extremely difficult to do. However, providing your child with appropriate interventions and treatments will help them to improve their behavior and academic functioning, thereby facilitating better understanding of their disorder by their peers and the school personnel they interact with on a daily basis. For more information about ADHD and treatments for ADHD, visit the Learning Breakthrough Program’s ADHD page.