Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that is diagnosed frequently among today's young people. The three main factors of ADHD are impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.

Lately, many more children are becoming diagnosed with ADHD. The disorder is most often controlled with prescription drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall.

These medications, of course, do not have the most attractive effects on our children. Ritalin, for example, is pharmacologically almost the same as cocaine, and for this reason it is one of the most abused drugs.

It is my belief that many children are diagnosed with ADHD incorrectly, and those that do verily have ADHD can be treated without the use of medication. I believe that we can instead heal their symptoms with a positive change in environment.

Let's take a glimpse at some of the signs of ADHD, as provided by the National Institute of Health:

Inattentive symptoms

1. Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
2. Has difficulty keeping attention during tasks or play
3. Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
4. Does not follow through on instructions and failures to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
5. Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6. Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork)
7. Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities
8. Is easily distracted
9. Is often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity symptoms:

1. Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
2. Leaves seat when remaining contained is expected
3. Runs about or climbs inappropriate situations
4. Has difficulty playing quietly
5. Is often “on the go,” acts as if “driven by a motor,” talks excessively

Impulsivity symptoms:

1. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
2. Has difficulty awaiting turn
3. Interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games)

A closer look will show that the symptoms of this “disorder” are nothing more than society once again trying to make children live up to their cookie-cutter expectations.

Schools are factories. Teachers stand in the front of the classroom and give lectures. Kids sit in their chairs and keep quiet. They can only speak if they raise their hand and get called on. They read from books and do their work until the day is done. They move to the sound of a bell. They do what teachers tell them to do and nothing more.

My question is, what child would not act inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive in this situation?

When children start acting in a way that disturbs the peace, teachers become disturbed as well. They need a way to control the students. So they naturally suggest the child has ADHD and to go visit a doctor. Parents feel much better knowing their child has a label for what's “wrong” with her, the child feels much better with a pocket full of “kiddie coke”, and the doctor feels much better because he makes money writing those prescriptions.

Democratic schools run much differently than traditional schools, and that is why they have been so successful at reducing and ending the symptoms of children with ADHD.

For example:

The symptom of “is often 'on the go,' acts as if 'driven by a motor,' talks excessively, '' is not an issue, because children are free to come and go as they please. Energy is welcome!

As for “has difficulty keeping attention during tasks or play”, children are free to create their own day. A child with ADHD can stop and start as many activities as they want, when they want. They are not taken into a daily schedule.

Democratic schools are really the answer for children with ADHD. Many democratic schools have been extremely successful with reducing the symptoms of ADHD in their students, and students are now medicine free since attending democratic schools.

Instead of trying to change our students, we need to change our paradigm. When we change the way we look at things, only then can we appreciate our children for whom they were all along.