SpeechPathology.com Phone: 800-242-5183


Presence - Apply Now - September 2022

What are Common Myths of ADHD?

Heather Schmitt, PhD, LP

July 3, 2023

Share:

Question

What are some common myths of ADHD?

Answer

It is important to understand common myths of ADHD so that we can debunk them when they come up in different situations. 

Myth 1: ADHD doesn't exist

The first myth is that ADHD doesn't exist. The child's just lazy, and they're unmotivated. I hear or see these labels a lot. At the same time, some youth who struggle with ADHD have passions and strengths outside of the classroom. I always encourage families and other professionals to reframe this idea of a child being unmotivated. It is more likely that they have a skill deficit. It's not that they won't do a certain task as a matter of principle or because they're lazy, it's because they can't do it.  In terms of ADHD not existing, plenty of research validates that ADHD is a neurological lifelong disorder.

Myth 2: Someone with ADHD cannot pay attention and/or sit still

The idea that someone with ADHD cannot pay attention or sit still is false. There are times when they can sit still and/or pay attention.  ADHD affects people in non-preferred, difficult tasks or demanding environments. For example, attentional difficulties occur when the child's expected to sit for a long period of time and there are a lot of demands on their attention, versus sitting still while passively watching a movie about a topic they're very interested in. This can be really frustrating about ADHD and how it presents for certain people. It's consistently inconsistent sometimes. A child might be able to do something in one situation or in one setting, but they struggle the next time. 

Myth 3: Someone with ADHD cannot complete their work, get good grades/test scores

ADHD is not related to intelligence or IQ. I'm sure you've also seen this often: "When a child with ADHD can pay attention, they're quite smart." It's not about being unintelligent. There are many gifted individuals who also have ADHD.

Myth 4: ADHD can be caused by the environment - like parenting approaches or TV/video games

As I said before, no credible evidence indicates that social environment alone can lead to a child developing ADHD. We know because of the sibling and twin studies I referenced earlier. After accounting for those genetic factors, there's little variation that can be explained by other things. Social factors like parenting approaches or video game use certainly impact functioning and possibly outcomes for a child, but they do not alone single-handedly create ADHD.

Myth 5: Medication can cure ADHD or become addictive

Another myth is that medication can cure ADHD or, problematically, ADHD meds become addictive. First, there are no medications that cure ADHD. The medications are used to effectively treat the symptoms and address the brain-based differences so the person can manage tasks temporarily.

Regarding addiction, there is no credible evidence that using stimulant medications to treat ADHD in childhood leads to an addictive disorder in adolescents or adulthood. That said, are there individuals who misuse stimulant medications? Of course. But when those medications are used as prescribed, in a therapeutic dose, there's no evidence of addiction. In fact, there's evidence of quite the opposite. With appropriate use, medications can be a protective factor.  In other words, it decreases the likelihood that someone will misuse substances to self-medicate or unhealthily cope with difficulties that arise.

Myth 6: Children eventually outgrow ADHD

The last myth is that children eventually outgrow ADHD. Although there are many ADHD symptoms that improve over time, most adults diagnosed with ADHD at a young age have some difficulties that persist. Remember, since the normal pattern of maturation is simply delayed, that can explain why many youth with ADHD are first described as immature. Their brain development is likely similar to a child that is younger at that point in time. But as the child ages, that maturation starts to catch up to their peers a bit. It may seem like they outgrew it, but what is really happening is that gap or difference in maturation and brain development starts to close as they age.  By age 15 or 20, those functioning differences or discrepancies become less noticeable or milder in presentation than their peers.  But they aren't actually outgrowing it 100%.

This ATE is an excerpt from the course, Understanding and Supporting Children and Teens with ADHD, by Heather Schmitt, PhD, LP.

 


heather schmitt

Heather Schmitt, PhD, LP

Dr. Heather Schmitt is a Licensed Psychologist at Thriving Minds Behavioral Health, a pediatric psychology clinic in Brighton, Michigan. She graduated with her PhD in school psychology from Michigan State University in 2018 and has practiced in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, residential treatment centers, and schools. Dr. Schmitt specializes in evidence-based treatment and assessment of a variety of emotional and behavioral concerns in children and adolescents. Her clinical interests include ADHD, anxiety disorders, OCD, and disruptive behavior problems. Dr. Schmitt also has extensive experience in behavioral consultation, including work with school-based professionals, caseworkers, and other mental health providers to promote the success of children, teens, and young adults.

 


Related Courses

Understanding and Supporting Children and Teens with ADHD
Presented by Heather Schmitt, PhD, LP
Video

Presenter

Heather Schmitt, PhD, LP
Course: #10432Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Being able to apply the information to some currently children on my caseload'   Read Reviews
An overview of what Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is and is not, including common myths and neurodevelopmental basics, is provided in this course. Practical strategies to manage and intervene with ADHD in children and teens are discussed, with a focus on identifying strengths and promoting self-regulation and executive functioning skills.

Executive Functioning: Beyond the Basics for School-based SLPs
Presented by Victoria Bondurant, MS, CCC-SLP, Joseph Walsh, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP
Video

Presenters

Victoria Bondurant, MS, CCC-SLPJoseph Walsh, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP
Course: #10765Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Really informative slides, a lot of context but was helpful to look back on'   Read Reviews
This course builds on course 10193, “Executive Functioning: Intervention Principles and Strategies for School-Based SLPs,” and extends participants' knowledge base to encompass more advanced concepts and approaches for scaffolding executive function (EF). Specifically, behaviors that signal a need for intervention and strategies that target social and academic impacts of EF difficulties are described.

The Role of Executive Functions in Social Interaction
Presented by Lisa R. Audet, PhD, CCC-SLP
Video

Presenter

Lisa R. Audet, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #9801Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Good discussion of executive function as it relates to Grice's Maxims and strategies to support learning in this area'   Read Reviews
This course explores the intersection between executive functioning and social communication and discusses how to integrate a cognitive approach into treatment when addressing social skill development.

The Pruning Effect On The Teenage Brain (It’s Not Just Hormones)
Presented by Tere Bowen-Irish, OTR/L
Audio

Presenter

Tere Bowen-Irish, OTR/L
Course: #1033875Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Excellent! Engaging presentation style, easy to follow, very knowledgeable about the subject matter, and kept my interest the entire time'   Read Reviews
Adolescent brain changes during puberty - the pruning effect that helps the brain become more specialized - are highlighted in this course. The activation and deactivation of different brain areas and the impact of these changes on behaviors and participation in life tasks are described. The relevance of this information to assessment and intervention planning is also discussed.

Neurodiversity: Navigating Scenarios Using a Neurodiversity-Affirming Approach
Presented by Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL
Video

Presenter

Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL
Course: #10693Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'The videos with feedback about what went well and what could be improved in each interaction'   Read Reviews
Neurodiversity, neurodivergence, and neurodiversity (ND)-affirming approaches are discussed in this course. Strengths-based assessment, goals and supports that characterize ND-affirming approaches are described. Case scenarios are presented to exemplify ways to help those who are neurodivergent succeed in school and clinical settings.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.