Due to popular media and lack of accurate information, misconceptions about ADHD are widespread.
Misconceptions can bring about heartache and make it harder for your child to adjust to their condition. Here are some common myths and the truth behind them.
Myth #1 – ADHD is not real
ADHD is a condition that affects how the brain works, especially in the center that controls concentration, focus and activity. Scientists don’t know what causes ADHD, but they are gaining insights into how the brain works and conditions that can interfere with its proper functioning. But they do know that ADHD is a true disorder that begins in early childhood (ages 5-8) and can last into adulthood.
Myth #2 – ADHD gives kids unfair advantage in school
ADHD is a classified disability according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Because the brain functions differently in individuals with ADHD, it is hard for them to concentrate, stay organized, comply with classroom rules and participate in group activities. Classroom modifications make it easier for your child to take advantage of the same opportunities that other kids have. Without such modifications, it is harder for children with ADHD to learn successfully in the school environment.
Myth #3 – ADHD is caused by bad parenting
ADHD begins in the brain. Parenting is not an exact science but it doesn’t lower the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Your parenting skills will need to move up a notch when it comes to facing the challenges of ADHD, but you didn’t cause the condition to affect your child in the first place.
Myth #4 – ADHD medication is over-prescribed
In fact, medication might be under-prescribed. Medications are not cheap and some groups based on socio-economic status are underrepresented in the diagnostic statistics. For example, minority children are less likely to seek treatment options due to cost, language barriers, availability and lack of perceived need (stigma that may surround the condition).
Myth #5 – ADHD is a childhood condition
Many adults who have concentration issues and trouble holding down a job may be the outcome of a lack of diagnosis as a child. Children with severe ADHD symptoms will more than likely have to deal with the condition as an adult. Changes in their behavior and medication in childhood can translate into an easier transition into adulthood.
Myth #6 – ADHD children are disabled for life
A disability is a part of you, but not who you are totally. ADHD doesn’t define your future when you use all the resources at your disposal to fight back. Several famous people who were diagnosed with ADHD were able to make their “disability” work for them, including George Bernard Shaw, Benjamin Franklin, Mozart and Abraham Lincoln. But you don’t have to be famous to make a success of your life with ADHD.
It is true that ADHD is a challenging condition, but one that can be managed with empathy and hard work. And as researchers learn more and more about how the brain works, new treatments and options will emerge over time.