There’s a new attention disorder in town, something called “sluggish cognitive tempo.” Right now, children who exhibit signs of this potential new disorder –daydreaming, lethargy and slow mental processing — are often treated as though they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There’s still a lot of controversy around making a new designation and researchers agree that more study is needed. In his New York Times article Alan Schwarz explains how the whole story is made murkier by research funded by pharmaceutical companies with a vested interest in the results.

“Yet some experts, including Dr. McBurnett and some members of the journal’s editorial board, say that there is no consensus on the new disorder’s specific symptoms, let alone scientific validity. They warn that the concept’s promotion without vastly more scientific rigor could expose children to unwarranted diagnoses and prescription medications — problems that A.D.H.D. already faces.”

And as always, in light of what we know about the growing brain’s need for downtime, for daydreaming, for creativity, we pose the question about these deficiencies: is it the kids or is it the system?

Idea of New Attention Disorder Spurs Research, and DebateWith more than six million American children having received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, concern has been rising that the condition is being significantly misdiagnosed and overtreated with prescription medications.

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  • middle school mindset

    I admire the MindShift team for being attentive to the many interesting educational articles that pop up on the interweb, but not everything that appears in the New York Times that is moderately provocative is worth reposting. Unless of course you’re simply looking for the provocative, to see what types of hits the post might produce. And BTWs, the American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM, which doesn’t include the mentioned “sluggish cognitive tempo.” Done.

  • livingwithitdailyopensyourmind

    @middle school mindset. To clarify your statement, because the APA hasn’t or doesn’t publish this information/research it is invalid? I bet many parents trying to understand how their children process & learn would beg to differ. I for one find it very interesting having a brilliant daughter with a processing speed deficit where attention plays a huge role/extra challenge for her. Meds (as mentioned in the article) are never the whole answer but just like reading glasses they can clarify what’s in front of you if you need them. Continued research and knowledge in knowing about cognitive learning is only a good thing and always worth sharing. Our children can only benefit.

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  • CarolSong

    Am I the only who giggled when I read this? Come… on.

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