They can’t read

In Australia, children’s clinics are trying to cope with a flood of children who aren’t sick. They can’t read. (Sign in with “vanitas” for the user name and “vain” for the password, courtesy of Bug Me Not.) Children come in to be evaluated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Professor (Vicki) Anderson said many children who were sent to the clinic because their teachers, families and GPs believed they had ADHD did not have the condition. Rather, the child’s inattention or poor behaviour in class was secondary to their failure to learn to read at school.

“ADHD is clearly overdiagnosed,” Professor Anderson said. “The appeal of a pill for ADHD is much easier than arranging twice-a-week remedial reading sessions. It’s cheaper for the school and much less time-consuming to put an ADHD label on these kids. By doing that, you put the problem on the child, not on the system.”

Parents complain it can take six months for students to be assessed for learning problems at school.

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