Let me preface this article with a statement, a broad, simplistic, sweeping statement, so I can save my ass from any unwarranted criticism; this is my statement: I believe that ADD (attention deficit disorder) and autism, in all forms, do exist.
With that said, let’s get hypothetical wit it. This is similar to getting’ jiggy wit it, but involves less dancing. Let’s work under the pretense that ADD and autism don’t really exist, or I should say this: ADD and autism are far less prevalent than their current diagnosis rate would suggest, simpler still: ADD and autism are being over-diagnosed all the time and this is causing a host of unnecessary problems.
I’ve had numerous conversations with my mother about this very issue. She is a kindergarten teacher and has been involved in education for over 25 years. In the past decade alone she has seen an extraordinary increase in the number of students being diagnosed with both ADD and autism, as well a host of other disorders. There is nothing, in her estimation anyway, that should account for this dramatic rise. I can’t really touch on things like the levels of mercury and lead; I just don’t have the scientific data to back up those kinds of claims. But I do acknowledge them and admit that they could be responsible for quite a large segment of this increase (in autism at least). However, working this out with my mother, I’ve come to another conclusion. This is just an opinion; it’s not meant to be hateful or mean or ignorant, or any combination of those three feelings. This is just the vague hypothesis of someone who’s prone to vaguely hypothesizing things.
One of the contributing factors to the dramatic rise of ADD and autism diagnoses could be due to a phenomenon that, for lack of a current describer, I’ll call Neo-Mother Syndrome, or to be fair: Neo-Parenting Syndrome. I’m not saying that this is the only factor nor am I claiming that this has played the largest part in the increase, but the fact that a parent’s own psychological problems could impact those of their children is hardly a new idea.
The number of parents who are prompting the school systems to test their children for these disorders, and not vice versa has, according to my teacher source, risen dramatically. In fact, this very notion was basically nonexistent almost a decade ago. The psychological basis for this suggestion exists in the parent’s need to self-diagnose their own offspring; this might happen for a number of reasons. If one’s child is not progressing, developmentally speaking, at a pace that the parent feels appropriate then they might suggest a learning disability is the root. Perhaps, the flaw could stem from a parent’s desire to exasperate every element of the public school system; they might witness other students with special aides and, out of a misplaced desire for attention, want similar assiduity for their own child.
For the most part, the public school system is at the mercy of a number of influential institutions: parents, the PTA, the school board, superintendents. Their hands are literally tied by these suggestions and accusations. If a parent suggests their child has ADD, the case has to be taken up and, more often than not, these diagnoses are coming back positive.
Look, I’m not a scientist or a sociologist, and I wish I had more facts. I’m not saying that what I’ve put forth is entirely wrong, but I’m also not saying that this information lacks any merit whatsoever. In reality, the psychological impact of the parent in regard to the dramatic rise of the diagnoses of various disorders in small children is probably quite small and insignificant. It’s just something to think about.