Attention Deficit Disorder: What Should We Do?

It is estimated that there are over 2.5 million people who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. The majority of these are boys. As a mother of a boy and a teacher, I have seen first hand the evidence of this, and I have to ask why we, as a nation, are content to medicate these beautiful, brilliant children instead of questioning the methods of teaching and choosing alternative educational settings for them. Wouldn't it be easier to reform our educational system than to come up with money for new drugs, doctor visits, psychologist visits, IEP meetings, at risk intervention programs, and yes, even prison terms? And yet, even with all of the previously mentioned strategies, academic success for these children is not met.
True, there are many instances where medication is a gift for a child and makes a remarkable difference for him. However, most parents who have placed their children on Ritalin have cited that it doesn't seem to help and the negative consequences outweigh whatever gains noted. In addition, in a report just released, researchers have found a link to the use of Ritalin and cancer. These are serious side effects and consequences.
ADD is a relatively new player on the field of learning disorders. Just as labeling this as a disorder causes the child to wonder what is wrong with him. In addition, there is no blood test or definitive measure of diagnosis for this disorder. A child is diagnosed with having ADD through the use of a subjective checklists. If a teacher wants a student diagnosed as having ADD, it is really quite easy to accomplish, especially if a parent is unsure of what to do. At any given time, most people would exhibit symptoms of ADD. However, they don