Is ADD A Fraud?

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By now I hope you’re used to my somewhat circuitous method of writing – seems I always start in one place and end up somewhere else, with hopefully a connection in the middle. Isn’t that the way when you have Attention Deficit Disorder?

I recently stumbled upon a website that I really like: Common Sense Living. Like a lot of ADD moms, I often have trouble keeping up with all I have to do: keeping the house clean, putting meals on the table, remembering to run errands and pay bills, and oh yes, try to make a living as an ADD Coach. Carole Pagan is the genius behind this website, and a very nice lady, too.

A week or so ago, I plunked down some hard earned cash for a couple of her products: Whole Life Overhaul and Secret Confessions of A Clean Freak. I also signed up for her newsletter. I’ve seen a very positive difference in myself and my house in just this short time, and even better – my family noticed – even my 23 year old son!

Now why am I telling you this? A couple of reasons. First, I like to pass the word along when I’ve tried something that’s really worked well for me, and if in the process, I can help out a fellow mompreneur, so much the better. And no, I’m not making any money from telling you this.

The second reason has to do with something that Carole sent me. As part of her Whole Life Makeover, Carole asks you to send emails once a week to report your progress. She sends back real, honest, thoughtful replies. As a result, she and I have exchanged a number of emails and have gotten to know one another a bit. She was even nice enough to check out this blog, just because I have it noted in the signature line of my emails.

Carole forwarded a report that she had received about an interview with Dr. Fred Baughman. The report was about how Attention Deficit Disorder is a fraud; something made up and perpetuated by the medical community, teachers, and the pharmaceutical companies all in the name of big profits. Carole passed it along and asked for my opinion. Here is the gist of what I told her:

I don’t believe that ADD is a fraud. I’ve seen too much of it first hand to believe that; some of it before I even knew what ADD was. I live with it myself, and I know the kinds of things that I struggle with. I’ve personally worked with 2 kids with ADD and genius IQ’s who were barely passing high school. I got to know these kids well enough to see that it wasn’t laziness or lack of motivation on their part; they were genuinely frustrated by things that others might take for granted, so much so that it was affecting their grades as well as their ability to learn.

Having said that, I do believe, as Dr. Baughman asserts, that there are plenty of people out there who are out for nothing more than to make a buck, and who are taking advantage of some of these parents and children for their own gain.

Several months ago, I joined a number of forums geared towards parents raising kids with ADD, and I have to tell you, I was appalled by some of the things that I read. I would say at least 50-60% of the parents on that board had kids with multiple diagnoses. Not only ADD, but bi-polar, depression, OCD, on and on. (ADD always occurs with what is called a co-morbidity – another condition like depression or ODD. The children I am referring to, however, had multiple conditions to the extent that it made me suspicious.) Not only that, but some of these kids were on so many meds it would make your head spin.

I remember one woman had a 3 year old who had been diagnosed with ADD and other conditions because she interrupted others when they were speaking, couldn’t share or take turns, and went from one activity to another! Isn’t that normal behavior for a 3 year old? (Diagnostic guidelines for diagnosis of ADD require that the child is at least 7 years old.)

Dr. Baughman sounds like a very accomplished and obviously well educated man, but I automatically suspect anyone’s opinion on anything when it is so absolute. Of course, he has a right to his opinion, just as I have a right to mine.

Does that mean that I believe that some of you don’t really have kids with ADD? I can’t really answer that, because I don’t know you or your child. You are the person who knows your child best, and ultimately, you and your gut are the best judges of whether or not what any person is telling you about your child is true.

I had someone ask me once if I could work with her child, because she hadn’t been formally diagnosed with ADD. My answer was that, as long as she was struggling with the kinds of things that I could help with, that was all that mattered. Whether or not ADD is a fraud is a decision you have to make yourself.

My job, as an ADD Coach, and as the owner of this site, is to educate you and support you as you try to cope with a number of problems relating to learning, school work, and grades. Whether we call it ADD or not really doesn’t matter.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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