More pre-K, more ADHD

More pre-k could lead to more ADHD diagnoses warn Berkeley researchers Stephen P. Hinshaw and Richard M. Scheffler  in a New York Times op-ed. 

Introducing millions of 3- to 5-year-olds to classrooms and preacademic demands means that many more distracted kids will undoubtedly catch the attention of their teachers. Sure, many children this age are already in preschool, but making the movement universal and embedding transitional-K programs in public schools is bound to increase the pressure. We’re all for high standards, but danger lurks.

Early intervention helps kids who really have ADHD, the professors write. But millions of children with ADHD labels — and prescriptions — don’t truly have the disorder.

Our research has revealed a worrisome parallel between our nation’s increasing push for academic achievement and increased school accountability — and skyrocketing ADHD diagnoses, particularly for the nation’s poorest children.

“By age 17, nearly one in five American boys and one in 10 girls has been told that they have ADHD,” Hinshaw and Scheffler write. That’s a 40 percent increase from a decade ago.

About Joanne


  1. ADHD is just something you work around. It’s the testing and the “sit still or else” mentality that makes it a problem. There are tons of jobs out there in which an ADHD type would do very well and even have an advantage.

  2. I think the basic problem is that normal boy behavior has been redefined as pathological. Boys are far too often seen as defective girls. That worldview infests classroom management, curriculum choices and instructional methods. I wish that today’s ES (especially) and MS teachers handled boys as well as my Normal School grads and my DH’s nuns did.

  3. Our world has gone through incredible changes. We eat differently, we drink differently. Chemicals are everywhere: in the air we breed, the water we drink , the food we eat. Our lifestyle is mostly computer oriented . All of the above and so many other factor have great influence on the mental and psychological disorders of our generation.