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Simple test for ADD????? Just a theory

John B. Zuckerman johnz at cs.indiana.edu
Sat Nov 18 09:46:14 EST 1995

In article <48dcdj$hsg at news.wco.com> Della Noche <dnoche at mail.wco.com> writes:

   You want to check out everything you can rather than just accepting a 
   "pop" diagnosis.  A friend of mine was told by her son's fourth grade 
   teacher at a Los Angeles public elemntary school that he would not be 
   allowed to come to school unless he had a Ritalin Rx for what *she* 
   thought was ADD.

   The principal backed the teacher up.  My friend went to the school board 
   and pointed out that *no* physician or psychiatrist had been involved in 
   this decision - that her son was being prohibited from attending public 
   school based on a diagnosis and prescription recommendation made by an 
   elementary school teacher.  The school board censured both the principal 
   and the teacher.

   Things had gotten bad enough that the family didn't want their son to go 
   back to that school - transferred him and found that the *real* problem 
   was dyslexia which was then appropriately dealt with.

   He's doing fine now, although reading still requires extra effort for 

   Be careful!


Your report of your friend's experience is troubling.  It is well
known (to experts, that is) that ADHD is a diagnosis of exclusion and
that many other problems should be considered first, including LD and

But it is also almost unbelievable to me that an LASD school principal
would behave that way. In this age of school psychologists, special
education, teacher sensitivity training, etc., why would a principal
not follow "correct procedure" and urge an expert assessment?
Teachers (or principals) who diagnose are absolutely acting out of

I suspect you haven't accurately related all the facts in this matter.

Your characterization of ADHD as a "pop" diagnosis is hurtful and
inaccurate.  That's a very disparaging way of putting it.

- John Z.

John Zuckerman
Indiana University

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