ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER – WHY IS IT SO CONTROVERSIAL ?
Professionals don’t agree on how to define or diagnose ADD, so teamwork is difficult…
Another reason for disagreement is that management of children with ADD, even when correctly diagnosed, is often poorly coordinated. There tends to be a lack of teamwork and communication. “Handoffs” are missed, and situations where someone “drops the ball” are common. The reasons for this are obvious, but solutions are elusive.
Major theoretical, conceptual, and semantic disagreements about the nature of ADD exist both between and within various academic disciplines. For evidence of this conflict, one need look no further than the Diagnostic& Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the “bible” of modern psychiatry, produced by a “committee of experts”). Major changes to the diagnostic criteria, categorization, and even the name given to ADD have been made with each of the five new editions of this book published over the past 20 years! In other words, once every five years or so they change the official “rules of the game” in diagnosing and labeling this disorder.
A haphazard nation-wide approach exists to professional training on this subject. Pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and educators are all routinely called upon to deal with children having symptoms which may be due to ADD. There is no guarantee that any one of them will have received formal education about it’s diagnosis or treatment, however. Even when they have, there is no universally agreed upon “curriculum” as to what such schooling should contain. Is it any wonder that it’s hard to assemble a team around a particular child (spanning home, school, doctor’s and sometimes therapist’s office) which “sees eye-to-eye”, sharing a common approach & viewpoint on this subject?