Treat ADHD to improve behaviour in schools: iLIVE
As a professional involved with the medical treatment of children with behaviour problems for 30 years I am shocked and dismayed with the comments made on radio and the press about two recent incidences of delinquent behaviour in schools.
The first was about a learner who assaulted a teacher at Glenvista High School (Star 20/9/13), with a chair and broom.
The second one described the teacher being shot in the leg at Sasolburg High school. (Star 21/9/13) by a learner.
Both were tragedies should never have happened. However the comments by ignorant people about what corporal punishment the learners should receive and the possibility of exclusion from school speaks only of ignorance.
Corporal punishment is banned in schools for a very good reason. Local and international medical research has proved that the behaviour displayed in both these cases is invariably caused by neglecting a genetically inherited neurological dysfunction that can easily diagnosed and successfully treated.
Sadly, when aggression is used to punish them their aggression is made worse. Aggression breeds aggression. As we do not punish Pneumonia , a medical condition, ADHD a genetically inherited medical condition needs recognition and treatment, not punishment. Unfortunately even medical intervention is not always successful unless done by an expert.
40% of long term violent prisoners have undiagnosed and untreated ADHD that got them into trouble in the first place. When leaving jail eventually they very frequently simply do “crime’ again! At an international Forensic Psychiatric Conference, an American expert suggested that if these people are not recognised, we will be incarcerating medically ill people.
Blaming the parent, school or learner does not solve problems. But educating them all, might result in medical, not psychological help, and a good chance of some measure of success. Diagnosis and treatment is possible from as early as in the pre-school years.
Many years ago the department of Education and Culture issued a study guide no 7 of 1991 from the parliament (House of Assembly) suggesting a medical diagnosis is needed. This still has value. In the South African Medical Journal recently a professor suggested aggression makes these unfortunate children more aggressive.
Perhaps the schools and the parents should be notified of what should and could be done and by whom to resolve this major problem and tragedy scientifically.