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Help write an email to a Sociology tutor who says ADHD is medicalising the problem of naughty children.

(65 Posts)
GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 18:12:22

My friend has just started uni. She has a son with ADHD. She went through many years of hardship with him before diagnosis. He is on ritalin and has greatly improved.

She sat in a sociology lecture where the lecturer was talking about over medicalising problems. The lecturer said that obesity is over medicalised, fair enough in some cases, getting operations and tablets for something that can be controlled by diet and excercise.

They then went on to talk about ADHD. ADHD is medicalisation of naughty children, just sticking a medical label on them so the parents don't have to blame themselves.

One of her cohort then said 'Maybe their behaviour is due to tablets and things taken during pregnancy' (not meaning recreational, but prescribed). The tutor then shrugged as if to say 'Well maybe'.

My friend sat there trying to control her anger and tears and would like to correct the tutor in the best and calmest way possible, via email. She has asked for my help and I in turn am asking for yours.


coff33pot Fri 05-Oct-12 18:14:58

Did anyone ask what he based his opinion on?

Chundle Fri 05-Oct-12 18:17:46

Maybe we can all chip in a few facts!
Our pead said that about 70% of kids he dx with adhd were born premature giving a very high probability that their birth/early labour has something to do with the adhd. Perhaps due to lack of oxygen etc etc.

I think also this tutor doesn't realise the hoops u have to jump through and the parenting courses you have to go on before a pead will give a dx! What a frigging nobosauraus!

GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 18:20:03

Should we include the word nobosaurus in the email?

GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 18:21:57

Coff33ee they are all very new at this. First year students, not quite at the stage of questioning or challenging.

Chundle you did make my upset friend laugh.

coff33pot Fri 05-Oct-12 18:27:36

nobosaurus.............i like! grin

Dear nobosaurus

Can you please educate yourself further before you spout off regarding ADHD and medication by reading the following links (insert NAS link and any other adhd info I will have a search round.

PS another tip may I be so bold to suggest.....stop reading the Daily Fail

Yours truly

Chundle Fri 05-Oct-12 18:37:06

Yes plz do include nobosauraus I find it does the trick without being as offensive as cuntosaurous!
Maybe we can send all our adhd kids to nobosauraus for the day so he can pyschoanalyse them (forgetting to give them any medication that day of course ;))
Seriously though you always get someone who thinks they know everything about adhd! My cousins American wife thinks she's the Adhd boffin and that its caused by eating too many processed food and handling too many plastics!!!!!!!!

porridgelover Fri 05-Oct-12 18:42:12

Hmmm I may not word this well what with my blood boiling and all....
can she quote to him the neorology. The link is to a 'dumbed down' version of neuroscience so should be at the level of a Sociology lecturer who has no medical training.
That and the fact that the class of drugs used in ADHD (e.g. Ritalin) tend to be neurostimulants...

It is hypothesised that the Reticular Activating System (which controls/monitors attention) is not doing it's work properly so the higher cortical levels of the brain seek more information in order to their work properly. It's a bit like the post sorting dept in a large corporate building working on a go slow. Management will come down to look for the essential information arriving in the post but they wont be able to sort as efficiently as people in the post Dept. So there will be a lot more activity and noise for less output (God does that make any sense? little sleep had here last night)...= ADHD where children and adults need to move and stimulate themselves more so that their brains get the necessary information just to get through the day. It's inefficient but effective.

This is anecdotal so no eveidence to back this point...that many kids with ADHD have sensory processing difficulties and benefit from SI therapy....why...because the 'Post' dept slows down the processing of incoming sensory information.

porridgelover Fri 05-Oct-12 18:43:36

thats probably the least coherent thing I have ever posted....sorry blush

UnChartered Fri 05-Oct-12 18:49:26

what a twatbadger

your poor friend - perhaps she could ask him if what he thinks of casual oppression by way of such sweeping and factually incorrect statements?

GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 18:51:00

Porridge I knew it would cause upset, posting here, but I also knew help would be at hand. That is a great explanation, not at all incoherant, thank you.

GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 18:53:16

Ooo, twatbadger too, that's a good one. Mayne not going to gain most sympathy for the cause though. Perhaps a logical and balanced argument is more called for?

I do like the idea of all our unmedicated SN children being piled on them. grin My own is undiagnosed (first app with paeds on Tues) and so much fun!

GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 18:53:53

I do like the casual oppressionstatement though!

quietlysuggests Fri 05-Oct-12 18:57:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 18:59:42

Interesting, but I wonder if your friend may have inadvertently missed the point? Having sat through many a sociology lecture including those on the medicalisation of perfectly ordinary life circumstances (pregnancy etc), I've also sat through a fair few on the sociology of disability - ie the fact that it is the environment that 'disables' an individual, the society they live in, rather than being able to walk or not, sit still for five hours listening to a boring teacher or not... Etc etc...

I wonder if she was leading on to the next topic - the sociology of disability one, in a deliberately provoking way, to get students to start thinking, as opposed to blindly writing down what she says to regurgitate in an essay in November?

First years are a notoriously unthinking bunch. Sometimes you have to deliberately provoke them to actually raise an independent thought.

My own favorite lectures include the ever popular 'feminism is no longer needed because society is equal', and 'the armed forces are murderers and thugs'. I take my own soap box.

I have a good friend who is a brain box. (Literally, paed neuro consultant) she has some fascinating stuff about all sorts of brain development, including the latest cortisol and stress related stuff ( not that crap nursery bollocks, actual in utero/ foetal cortisol levels stuff). if the lecturer is genuinely ignorant (which is find hard to believe, most sociology lecturers I know are practically bent over backwards to accommodate difference of any sort, and legitimize it in a societal context) then she needs a good shooing.

I suspect this might be a case of deliberate provocation, though? And the lecturer didn't realize your friend would be particularly fragile? I know I've spent many hours chatting with lecturers about how my personal circs affect my pov.

Get your friend to look up how our own life experiences affect our research outcomes and how to eradicate bias and write an essay about that, referencing teaching and education, with (pointed) examples. grin

Sociology is a bitch as a mature student. But she'll have loads of great experiences to draw on.

coff33pot Fri 05-Oct-12 19:00:23


coff33pot Fri 05-Oct-12 19:10:47

ooooh noo sorry guys left my desk and that was middle dd blush not directed at anyone in particular I guess she was just sticking up for her brother blush

UnChartered Fri 05-Oct-12 19:12:16

i like middle dd wink

she's got the right idea

GhostofMammaTJ Fri 05-Oct-12 19:14:22

Quietly had she smoked through pregnancy I am sure she would take that on board, but she didn't.

MadWoman that the tutor was being deliberatel provocative is a possibilty, though not a pleasant one. Thank you for that.

coff33pot grin

Lougle Fri 05-Oct-12 19:17:54

I agree with madwomanintheattic. When I did a social studies degree, a lot of lectures were deliberately oblique, to encourage debate, challenge, etc.

It is well known that ADHD falls into two 'camps' - the diagnosed condition, and the label.

It's the label that is the issue, not the condition.

Chundle Fri 05-Oct-12 19:23:06

Hahaha Coff I'm loving your middle dd she's funny smile

coff33pot Fri 05-Oct-12 19:25:16

Thing is though (dds message aside) meds are not so easily dished out. Furthermore if you just have a "label" as in "must be adhd" then you are unlikely to obtain meds for it.

Also a lot of parents do a battle of emotional thought before even considering or trialing meds as it rarely is first choice.

Smoking. Nope didnt smoke when carried DS nor drink as I dont and no other medication. He was still prem.

If this sociologist does come back with further argument or debate I would be interested to see what his findings are based on.

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 19:34:18

I think deliberate provocation is fine in an academic context, tbh. They are trying to foster independent thought, and discussion around these widespread societal beliefs.

I can't think of anything worse than a lecturer (particularly a sociology one!) sticking to 'safe' viewpoints and never encouraging their students to challenge or disagree.

This wasn't a friend in a coffee shop spouting bollocks about ADHD. It was a lecturer doing the same thing in a context supposed to stimulate debate. grin

If it helps your friend, I got right on my high horse because of my own life experiences in my first ever written assignment. The question was 'do you think an author has to have experienced war in order to write about it?' grin I went on for pages, and got a C. grin I'd never had a c before, I was gutted. But then I remembered context and thought a bit about it more critically in the context of an academic debate. I got a first in the end, having submitted a thesis on the literature of war, with the lecturer who gave me a C as my personal tutor. grin it was the best thing anyone ever did. Pulled me right up and made me look wider than my own experiences.

I only recount this in order to get your friend to examine closely her own past, and get her to think about the wider implications - use your own experience, but don't let it become all consuming.

Ds1 has ADHD. grin dd2 has cerebral palsy. I eat essays about this stuff.

Use it. Don't waste your time misconstruing a lecture, like I wasted my time getting on my high horse about the literature of war. My own military experience counted for diddly squat if I couldn't put in an academic and much wider context.

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 19:38:00

This is a turning point in her academic career. It really is. I bet in a few years she looks back on this and goes 'omg I was sooooo naive.' I still flush with embarrassment at how completely wrong end of the stick I was. And I came out loving that tutor, and having spent hours gassing with her about the exact thing she marked me down on. grin

Tutor wasn't dissing ADHD. Tutor wants you to think about ADHD in a sociological context.

ouryve Fri 05-Oct-12 19:40:35

Haven't read on yet, but if you like, I'll offer DS1 to hand deliver it to his office. Unmedicated.

DS1 had a teacher who thought she could fix him with a few rules and a bit of the discipline his was so obviously lacking. Yeah, that worked. A little boy with a big enthusiasm for leaning (notsomuch the traditional "work" involved) wound up hating school.

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