October deemed ADHD Awareness Month

Jada Welch, Reporter/SCC

One in ten children in the United States have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the diagnosis rates continue to rise.

Due to the prevalence of ADHD in the United States, the month of October has been deemed ADHD awareness month.

ADHD can hinder a child’s education if not treated properly, and some believe the U.S. education system is missing the mark when it comes to accommodating the needs of these students.

Northeast Valley News spoke with Dr. David Leighton, a retired psychologist with many years of experience in the research and treatment of ADHD.

“The core symptom [of ADHD] is a weakness in the ability to sustain focus in absence of immediate interest level,” Leighton said.

This inability to sustain focus can cause problems to arise in the classroom for students, which can be escalated by a lack of adequate information and assistance from their teachers.

“Our education system has beaten the hell out of them [students with ADHD] because they don’t deal well with ADHD, and they don’t deal well with learning disorders, period,” Leighton said.

Leighton added that children with ADHD are likely to have an additional learning disorder, such as dyslexia, making the awareness of ADHD among teachers crucial for student success.

With proper diagnosis and treatment, ADHD can be manageable.

Treatment usually consists of medication, which, according to Leighton-when done correctly, can be miraculous.

Lauren Wolford, an Arizona State University bound student, did not understand why she was having such a hard time maintaining focus in class until she received her ADD diagnosis (ADHD without the hyperactive variant) during her freshman year of high school.

“I kept wondering, ‘Why can’t I focus? Why do I feel like I’m constantly thinking of other things while being in class?’” Wolford said.

Wolford was able to receive treatment for her ADD, including a prescription for Adderall to help improve her ability to focus. However, she still struggled with judgment from her peers, as well as a lack of understanding from her teachers throughout her high school years.

“Everybody just looks at you like you’re an outcast, kind of…everybody learns differently and they, [teachers] don’t teach you differently,” Wolford said.