A little rant

Hey, a little rant here.

There is a new diagnosis being tossed around – “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo.” The New York Times just did an article about it.  Here is a link –  http://nyti.ms/1n7RWuc

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo has been lurking in the background of child development for a number of years.  I hear about it, but it is not in the diagnostic manual (which is true for many types of learning or developmental challenges).  Sluggish Cognitive Tempo is for those kids who seem a little slow and scattered about getting things done. Of course, they have to be so slow and scattered that it bothers their teachers or their parents to a point that someone thinks a diagnosis is warranted.  It’s a version of attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity.  Diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder are going up, up, up, so it is not unexpected that we can split some diagnostic hairs and come up with some more specific names.

So here is my rant.  I am tired of a description of behavior becoming a diagnosis.  Why. . .Why . . .WHY is this child slow and scattered.  Is he getting enough sleep?  Does she get any exercise?  Is she eating well enough to maintain attention?  Is he constantly distracted by sounds in his environment?  Does he have a learning disability that slows him down and causes confusion?  I mean REALLY, if a kid was peeing 20 times a day, we would not develop a diagnosis of Frequent Peeing Disorder.  No, we would look for a medical problem that is causing frequent peeing.  I am tired of the “name it and medicate it” approach to treating learning or attention challenges in children.  We have to dig a little and figure out why this child is struggling.

Just my rant.  It is not an accomplishment to split hairs when naming symptoms.  It is an accomplishment to get a comprehensive assessment of a child’s needs and abilities and then improve this child’s learning and attention by supporting underlying biology and cognition.  I am not against medication; I am just against medication when there has not been a good assessment of underlying biology and cognition.