(UK) Children wait years for ADHD diagnosis,as more kids are on behavior meds

Aug 4, 2018, Guardian: UK children with ADHD wait up to two years for diagnosis, say experts Children with ADHD are waiting up to two years for a diagnosis in the UK, harming their chances of education and prospects for the future, say experts…. Yet data seen by the Guardian shows a chaotic situation, with some children being seen by children’s mental health specialists within a couple of weeks but most having to wait for months or years. The revelation, from a Freedom of Information request by the all-party parliamentary group on ADHD, appears to undermine the recent controversial assertions of Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, that too many parents are getting their children diagnosed and given drugs for ADHD rather than addressing their behavioural problems. … Jo Platt, Labour MP for Leigh and chair of the all-party group, said the findings of two-year waits were “really, really shocking”. There was a public perception that all children who behaved badly were being labelled as ADHD and put on pills – or even that parents pushed for medication to help their children get better marks in school, as is said to happen in the United States. But in the UK, “that is not the reality. It is really difficult to get that diagnosis,” she said…. This week Spielman wrote back, appearing to give no ground. While she recognised ADHD as a medical condition and would not discourage parents from seeking medical help, “there has been a significant rise in the number of children who are on medication for behavioural problems,” she told the MPs in a letter seen by the Guardian and repeated in a statement to the paper. “A number of medical studies have raised the possibility of over-diagnosis. I am concerned that we may sometimes be dealing with the symptoms of bad behaviour without addressing the underlying issues.”… Schools are in a position to spot children needing help, but a report last year by another support group, the ADHD Foundation, found “dangerous misperceptions” among teaching staff. A survey of parents found that 38% had been criticised for poor parenting skills and nearly a quarter were told by teaching staff that ADHD was over-diagnosed….