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Isolating ADHD student 'archaic' and damaging to self-esteem, Sudbury social worker says

A registered social worker in Sudbury, Ont., wants people to stop treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a behavioural problem.

'It says to that kid that you're not important, so the policy has to change'

A seven-year-old boy in Sudbury, Ont., was sent to eat his lunch on the floor of his school hallway recently after acting out because of his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (amenclinicsphotos/Flickr cc)

A registered social worker in Sudbury, Ont., wants people to stop treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a behavioural problem.

"Behavioural problem almost suggests choice," Allan Chislett said.

"It's not reasonable that a child would choose embarrassment and exclusion."

Chislett said he was taken aback this week after learning a seven-year-old boy was sent to eat his lunch on the floor of his school hallway after acting out because of his ADHD.

"It's just completely wrong," Chislett said. 

"It says to that kid that you're not important, so the policy has to change ... It's archaic and it damages the person's self-esteem."

Hostility growing up 'so surprising'

Chislett was officially diagnosed with ADHD when he was 43-years-old. 

Growing up, he said he often spent time sitting outside the principal's office and felt bullied by teachers because of his symptoms. 

"I suspect they were obviously frustrated," Chislett said. 

"But when it would happen, the hostility I'd see in the teacher would be so surprising because it did not match any intent that I had inside of me."
Allan Chislett was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 43-years-old. (Roger Corriveau CBC)

Chislett said he would like people in the education system to receive more training so they can recognize and better understand ADHD.

He also thinks researchers need to redefine what it means to have the disorder.

"I think when those things change and science is able to become a little more definitive around what this [ADHD] is, than the school system won't have so much difficulty trying to figure out what to do about it," Chislett said.

Listen to the story on Morning North

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Senior reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a national reporter for CBC Saskatchewan on secondment from CBC Sudbury. She covers news from across the province for radio, TV and online. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.