The Current

Diagnosing ADHD: Are we getting it right?

We're asking why there are so many new cases of ADHD, or whether something else might be going on with Canada's kids.
On the heels of news that rates of ADHD have jumped over the last decade in the U.S., we're tracking ADHD in Canada. Here, the numbers may be smaller but the concerns are just as amplified and divided. 



Parents of PJ, Robert and Mary-Ann Costanzo

After school can be peak craziness at Robert and Mary-Ann Costanzo's home in Toronto. With three kids under 7, it goes with the territory. Earlier this year, their oldest son's teacher believed PJ might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

Over the last decade, the number of ADHD diagnoses has climbed all over the world. Some say that's because we're finally taking the condition seriously. But others -- including Robert, who is a teacher -- worry we've gone too far the other way ... that we may be over-diagnosing and over-medicating kids.

Sociologist Marie-Christine Brault published ADHD study in Canada

Last week, after examining test data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The New York Times reported that at some point in their lives, 11 per cent of U.S. children aged 4 to 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD. That's up 53 per cent over the last decade. Here in Canada, the rates are climbing too.

Marie-Christine Brault is a Sociologist at the Université de Montréal. A little over a year ago, she published a study of ADHD rates in Canada. She was in Montreal.

Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada, Heidi Bernhardt

Still, if ADHD isn't diagnosed correctly, there may be significant impairments in adulthood. So, there are lots of good reasons to get this right and my next guest isn't so worried by the sharp increase in diagnoses.

Heidi Bernhardt is the President and Executive Director of what's called CADDAC, the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada. She has three sons diagnosed with ADHD. Heidi Bernhardt was in our Toronto studio.

Last Word - Margaret Thatcher

One of the more astonishing personalities of the last century left us this week. People found former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ferocious, unyielding, principled and an ideologue.

She was many things to many people. One of the consequences of a long life in the public eye is that so much of that life is recorded. Biographers will have much to pick over, but even the casual observer can witness Mrs. Thatcher's growth on film and video.

In her early career, she sounds a little hesitant, even deferential, then her confidence grew. Strident, scolding and occasionally imperious, Margaret Thatcher was one of a kind. For today's Last Word, a little of the forging of The Iron Lady.


Other segments from today's show:

Outsourcing: The business in Canada and beyond

Lagos slum demolitions draw ire, debate

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